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Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

Individuals make systematic mistakes in their decisions, because they mispredict utility from choice options. When deciding, extrinsic attributes of choice options are more salient than intrinsic attributes. Adaptation is neglected, recollection of feelings is distorted, decisions are rationalized and wrong intuitive theories of happiness are applied. People overestimate extrinsic attributes and therefore put too much emphasis on acquiring income and gaining status. In contrast, they underestimate intrinsic attributes and devote too little time to their family, friends or hobbies, which lowers their utility level. The theoretical analysis is consistent with an econometric study on commuting decisions using reported subjective well-being data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2005-04.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2005-04

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Keywords: adaptation; extrinsic/intrinsic attributes; individual decision-making; misprediction; subjective well-being; time allocation;

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References

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  18. Bruno Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not Only What, but Also How Matters," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(3), pages 377-, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2010. "Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 4850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs & Kosfeld, Michael, 2005. "Neuroeconomic Foundation of Trust and Social Preferences," CEPR Discussion Papers 5127, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Christine Benesch & Alois Stutzer, . "Does watching TV make us happy?," IEW - Working Papers 241, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Tania Singer & Ernst Fehr, 2005. "The Neuroeconomics of Mind Reading and Empathy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 340-345, May.
  5. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2005. "The Behavioural Effects of Minimum Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 5115, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. repec:old:wpaper:322 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Tilman Tacke & Robert J. Waldmann, 2009. "Income Distribution, Infant Mortality, and Health Care Expenditure," CEIS Research Paper 146, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 30 Sep 2009.

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