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Preferences for Consistency

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  • Falk, Armin
  • Zimmermann, Florian

Abstract

This paper studies how a preference for consistency can affect economic decisionmaking. We propose a two-period model where people have a preference for consistency because consistent behavior allows them to signal personal and intellectual strength. We then present three experiments that study main predictions and implications of the model. The first is a simple principal-agent experiment that shows that consistency is valued by others and that this value is anticipated. The second experiment underlines the crucial role of early commitment for consistency preferences. Finally we show how preferences for consistency can be used to manipulate choices.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8519.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8519

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Keywords: charitable giving; consistency preferences; early commitment; experiments; social influence;

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References

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  1. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  2. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  6. James Andreoni, 2007. "Social Image and the 50-50 Norm: A Theoretical and Experimental Analysis of Audience Effects," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001459, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Mullainathan, Sendhil & Washington, Ebonya, 2007. "Sticking with Your Vote: Cognitive Dissonance Voting," Working Papers 14, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  8. Charness, Gary & Levin, Dan, 2003. "When Optimal Choices Feel Wrong: A Laboratory Study of Bayesian Updating, Complexity, and Affect," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7g63k28w, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  9. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Pride and Prejudice: The Human Side of Incentive Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 990-1008, June.
  10. Benabou, R. & Tirole, J., 2001. "Willpower and Personal Rules," Papers 216, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  11. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B. & Marklein, Felix & Sunde, Uwe, 2009. "Biased Probability Judgment: Evidence of Incidence and Relationship to Economic Outcomes from a Representative Sample," IZA Discussion Papers 4170, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Grether, David M., . "Bayes Rule as a Descriptive Model: The Representativeness Heuristic," Working Papers 245, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. Christoph Vanberg, 2008. "Why Do People Keep Their Promises? An Experimental Test of Two Explanations -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1467-1480, November.
  14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  15. Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, 05.
  16. Prendergast, Canice & Stole, Lars, 1996. "Impetuous Youngsters and Jaded Old-Timers: Acquiring a Reputation for Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1105-34, December.
  17. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gerrit Frackenpohl & Gert Pönitzsch, 2013. "Bundling Public with Private Goods," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse05_2013, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. Ewers, Mara & Zimmermann, Florian, 2012. "Image and Misreporting," IZA Discussion Papers 6425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Bo Chen, 2013. "Assignment Games with Externalities And Matching-Based Competition," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse08_2013, University of Bonn, Germany.
  4. Dessi, Roberta & Monin, Benoît, 2012. "Noblesse Oblige? Moral Identity and Prosocial Behavior in the Face of Selfishness," TSE Working Papers 12-347, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  5. Dessi, Roberta & Monin, Benoît, 2012. "Noblesse Oblige? Moral Identity and Prosocial Behavior in the Face of Selfishness," IDEI Working Papers 750, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  6. Sebastian Goerg & Sebastian Kube, 2012. "Goals (th)at Work – Goals, Monetary Incentives, and Workers’ Performance," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_19, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

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