AbstractThis paper introduces a tractable, structural model of subjective beliefs. Forward-looking agents care about expected future utility flows, and hence have higher current felicity if they believe that better outcomes are more likely. On the other hand, biased expectations lead to poorer decisions and worse realized outcomes on average. Optimal expectations balance these forces by maximizing average felicity. A small bias in beliefs typically leads to first-order gains due to increased anticipatory utility and only to second-order costs due to distorted behavior. We show that in a portfolio choice problem, agents overestimate the return on their investment and exhibit a preference for skewness. In general equilibrium, agents' prior beliefs are endogenously heterogeneous. Finally, in a consumption-saving problem with stochastic income, agents are both overconfident and overoptimistic.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10707.
Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Other versions of this item:
- Jonathan Parker & Markus K Brunnermeier, 2002. "Optimal Expectations," FMG Discussion Papers dp434, Financial Markets Group.
- Jonathan A. Parker & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2004. "Optimal Expectations," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 426, Econometric Society.
- Brunnermeier, Markus K & Parker, Jonathan A, 2004. "Optimal Expectation," CEPR Discussion Papers 4656, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
- D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
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- Leeat Yariv, 2002. "I'll See It When I Believe It - A Simple Model of Cognitive Consistency," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1352, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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- Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002.
"Self-Confidence And Personal Motivation,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
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- Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Self Confidence and Personal Motivation," Open Access publications from University of Toulouse 1 Capitole http://neeo.univ-tlse1.fr, University of Toulouse 1 Capitole.
- Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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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