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Preferences for Consistency

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Author Info

  • Falk, Armin

    ()
    (University of Bonn)

  • Zimmermann, Florian

    ()
    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

This paper studies how a preference for consistency can affect economic decision-making. 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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5840.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5840

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Related research

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

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References

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  1. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Promises, Threats and Fairness," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 397-420, 04.
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  3. 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).
  4. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 1695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. 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.
  6. Benabou, R. & Tirole, J., 2001. "Willpower and Personal Rules," Papers 216, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  7. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  8. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  9. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Grether, David M, 1980. "Bayes Rule as a Descriptive Model: The Representativeness Heuristic," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 537-57, November.
  16. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  17. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Gerrit Frackenpohl & Gert Pönitzsch, 2013. "Bundling Public with Private Goods," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse05_2013, University of Bonn, Germany.
  3. 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).
  4. Bo Chen, 2013. "Assignment Games with Externalities And Matching-Based Competition," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse08_2013, University of Bonn, Germany.
  5. Ewers, Mara & Zimmermann, Florian, 2012. "Image and Misreporting," IZA Discussion Papers 6425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.

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