IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Confidence-Enhanced Performance


  • Olivier Compte
  • Andrew Postlewaite


There is ample evidence that emotions affect performance. Positive emotions can improve performance, while negative ones can diminish it. For example, the fears induced by the possibility of failure or of negative evaluations have physiological consequences (shaking, loss of concentration) that may impair performance in sports, on stage, or at school. There is also ample evidence that individuals have distorted recollection of past events and distorted attributions of the causes of success or failure. Recollection of good events or successes is typically easier than recollection of bad ones or failures. Successes tend to be attributed to intrinsic aptitudes or effort, while failures are attributed to bad luck. In addition, these attributions are often reversed when judging the performance of others. The objective of this paper is to incorporate the phenomenon that emotions affect performance into an otherwise standard decision theoretic model and show that in a world where performance depends on emotions, biases in information processing enhance welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Compte & Andrew Postlewaite, 2004. "Confidence-Enhanced Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1536-1557, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:5:p:1536-1557 Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828043052204

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Waldman, Michael, 1994. "Systematic Errors and the Theory of Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 482-497, June.
    2. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    3. Matthew Rabin & Joel L. Schrag, 1999. "First Impressions Matter: A Model of Confirmatory Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 37-82.
    4. Van den Steen, Eric, 2002. "Skill or Luck? Biases of Rational Agents," Working papers 4255-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    5. Roland BĂ©nabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
    6. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:5:p:1536-1557. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.