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Are We All Better Drivers than Average? Self-Perception and Biased Behaviour

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  • Brocas, Isabelle
  • Carrillo, Juan D
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    Abstract

    This Paper studies a model where individuals have imperfect self-knowledge and learning is costly. It shows that the endogenous decision to collect information before taking an action creates a systematic and testable bias in the aggregate behaviour of agents in the economy. More precisely, individuals distort the information acquisition procedure so as to favour the possibility of undertaking the action that generates the highest benefits in some states, even if it also generates the biggest losses in some others. The Paper thus explains within a rational framework why 80% of individuals may perceive themselves as being brighter, better drivers and more able entrepreneurs than their average peer. Applications to biases in career choices and judicial decisions are discussed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3603.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3603

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    Related research

    Keywords: bias in judgement; decision-making; self-perception;

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    References

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    1. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Self-Confidence: Intrapersonal Strategies," Working Papers 152, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
    2. Manove, Michael & Padilla, Atilano Jorge, 1998. "Banking (Conservatively) With Optimists," CEPR Discussion Papers 1918, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory And Anticipatory Feelings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 55-79, February.
    4. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2004. "The supply of information by a concerned expert," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 487-505, 07.
    5. Carrillo, Juan D & Mariotti, Thomas, 2000. "Strategic Ignorance as a Self-Disciplining Device," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 529-44, July.
    6. Manove, M., 1995. "Entrepreneurs, Optimism, and the Competitive Edge," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 296.95, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    7. Rabin, Matthew, 1995. "Moral Preferences, Moral Constraints, and Self-Serving Biases," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt97r6t5vf, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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    Cited by:
    1. repec:dgr:uvatin:2006010 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Merkle, Christoph & Weber, Martin, 2011. "True overconfidence: The inability of rational information processing to account for apparent overconfidence," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 262-271.

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