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Unrealistic Optimism about Exogenous Events: An Experimental Test

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  • Muren, Astri

    ()
    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University)

Abstract

An experiment is designed to test if individuals show (unrealistic) optimism when determining their subjective probabilities about exogenous circumstances. Subjects in the control group make an informed guess about a number, under a payment scheme that rewards close guesses. In the treatment group, subjects' payments depend on the actual number as well as on the closeness of the guess, and they are thus given an incentive to guess optimistically. The data suggests that there is an optimistic bias.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2004:1.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 22 Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2004_0001

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Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
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Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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Keywords: optimism; unrealistic optimism; wishful thinking; wish fulfilment.;

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  1. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  2. Forsythe, Robert & Rietz, Thomas A. & Ross, Thomas W., 1999. "Wishes, expectations and actions: a survey on price formation in election stock markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 83-110, May.
  3. Todd R. Kaplan & Bradley J. Ruffle, 2004. "The Self-serving Bias and Beliefs about Rationality," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 237-246, April.
  4. Babcock, Linda, et al, 1995. "Biased Judgments of Fairness in Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1337-43, December.
  5. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2001. "Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence, And Common Stock Investment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 261-292, February.
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