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Strategic Self-Ignorance

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Author Info

  • Thunström, Linda

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming)

  • Nordström, Jonas

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Shogren, Jason F.

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming)

  • Ehmke, Mariah

    ()
    (Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wyoming)

  • van 't Veld, Klaas

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Finance, University of Wyoming)

Abstract

We examine strategic self-ignorance—the use of ignorance as an excuse to over-indulge in pleasurable activities that may be harmful to one’s future self. Our model shows that guilt aversion provides a behavioral rationale for present-biased agents to avoid information about negative future impacts of such activities. We then confront our model with data from an experiment using prepared, restaurant-style meals—a good that is transparent in immediate pleasure (taste) but non-transparent in future harm (calories). Our results support the notion that strategic self-ignorance matters: nearly three of five subjects (58 percent) chose to ignore free information on calorie content, leading at-risk subjects to consume significantly more calories. We also find evidence consistent with our model on the determinants of strategic self-ignorance.

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File URL: http://project.nek.lu.se/publications/workpap/papers/WP13_17.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013:17.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 28 May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2013_017

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Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en
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Keywords: Experiment; Information; Ignorance;

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Andreoni, James & Petrie, Ragan, 2004. "Public goods experiments without confidentiality: a glimpse into fund-raising," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1605-1623, July.
  4. Broberg, Tomas & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2007. "Is generosity involuntary?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 32-37, January.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Is obesity an information problem?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-06-27 14:16:00
  2. [??]???????
    by himaginary in himaginaryの日記 on 2012-06-29 07:00:00
  3. Strategic self-ignorance
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-08-14 14:52:00
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Cited by:
  1. Thunström, Linda & van 't Veld, Klaas & Shogren, Jason F. & Nordström, Jonas, 2013. "On Strategic Ignorance of Environmental Harm and Social Norms," Working Papers 2013:22, Lund University, Department of Economics.

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