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False Consensus in Economic Agents

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  • Proto, Eugenio

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Sgroi, Daniel

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Abstract

In an incentivized experiment we identify a powerful and ubiquitous bias: individuals regard their own characteristics and choices as more common than is the case. We establish this "false consensus" bias in terms of happiness, political stance, mobile phone brand and on the attitude to deference in a hypothetical restaurant choice, and show that it is not limited to the distribution of hard to observe characteristics and choices but also to weight and height. We also show that the bias is not driven by the fact that the tallest, happiest, most left/right-wing, etc. are more salient. Key words: false consensus ; saliency ; biased beliefs ; happiness ; politics ; height, weight. JEL classification: D03 ; C83 ; D84

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 968.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:968

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  1. Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "On the curvature of the reporting function from objective reality to subjective feelings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 369-372, September.
  2. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence And Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915, August.
  3. Sergio Currarini & Paolo Pin & Matthew O. Jackson, 2007. "An Economic Model of Friendship: Homophily, Minorities and Segregation," Working Papers 2007_20, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  5. Engelmann, Dirk & Strobel, Martin, 1999. "The false consensus effect disappears if representative information and monetary incentives are given," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,66, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  6. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2010. "Overconfidence is a Social Signaling Bias," IZA Discussion Papers 4840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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