IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/jemstr/v11y2002i3p379-421.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

An Economic Approach to the Psychology of Change: Amnesia, Inertia, and Impulsiveness

Author

Listed:
  • David Hirshleifer
  • Ivo Welch

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of memory loss on the continuity of behavior. We consider a player (individual or firm) who remembers previous actions but not underlying rationales. In a stable environment, relative to a full-recall scenario, memory loss increases the probability of following old policies (inertia). In a volatile environment, memory loss can decrease this probability (impulsiveness). The model provides a memory-loss explanation for some documented psychological biases, implies that inertia and organizational routines should be more important in stable environments than in volatile ones, and provides empirical implications relating memory and environmental variables to economic decisions. Copyright (c) 2002 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2002. "An Economic Approach to the Psychology of Change: Amnesia, Inertia, and Impulsiveness," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 379-421, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:11:y:2002:i:3:p:379-421
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/servlet/useragent?func=synergy&synergyAction=showTOC&journalCode=jems&volume=11&issue=3&year=2002&part=null
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to 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

    as
    1. George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1209-1248.
    2. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1988. "Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 678-690, September.
    3. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-319, June.
    4. Marco Ottaviani & Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 1998. "Social learning in a changing world," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 11(3), pages 657-665.
    5. Kuran, Timur, 1987. "Preference Falsification, Policy Continuity and Collective Conservatism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 642-665, September.
    6. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-1348, December.
    7. James Dow, 1991. "Search Decisions with Limited Memory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 1-14.
    8. Avinash Dixit, 1992. "Investment and Hysteresis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 107-132, Winter.
    9. Cohen, Wesley M & Klepper, Steven, 1996. "A Reprise of Size and R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 925-951, July.
    10. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    11. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    12. Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "A Memory-Based Model of Bounded Rationality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 735-774.
    13. Rasmusen, Eric, 1992. "Managerial Conservatism and Rational Information Acquisition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 175-201, Spring.
    14. Arkes, Hal R. & Blumer, Catherine, 1985. "The psychology of sunk cost," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 124-140, February.
    15. Donald C. Hambrick & Richard A. D'Aveni, 1992. "Top Team Deterioration as Part of the Downward Spiral of Large Corporate Bankruptcies," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(10), pages 1445-1466, October.
    16. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Fabbri, Giorgio, 2017. "International borrowing without commitment and informational lags: Choice under uncertainty," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 103-114.
    2. Olivier Gossner & Jakub Steiner, 2016. "Optimal Illusion of Control and Related Perception Biases," ESE Discussion Papers 276, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    3. Andrey Mikhailitchenko & Anna Sadovnikova, 2015. "SYMBIOTIC VS COMMENSAL NETWORKING: THE CASE OF TEXTILE SMEs IN CHINA AND RUSSIA," Organizations and Markets in Emerging Economies, Faculty of Economics, Vilnius University, vol. 6(1).
    4. Levent Kutlu, 2015. "Limited Memory Consumers and Price Dispersion," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 46(4), pages 349-357, June.
    5. Frédéric, DALSACE & Erin, ANDERSON & William T., ROSS, Jr., 2003. "Path Dependence in Personal Selling : A Meso-Analysis of Vertical Integration," Les Cahiers de Recherche 787, HEC Paris.
    6. Yuxin Chen & Ganesh Iyer & Amit Pazgal, 2010. "Limited Memory, Categorization, and Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(4), pages 650-670, 07-08.
    7. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2008. "Thought and Behavior Contagion in Capital Markets," MPRA Paper 9164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Koster, Paul & Peer, Stefanie & Dekker, Thijs, 2015. "Memory, expectation formation and scheduling choices," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 256-265.
    9. Anja Lambrecht & Katja Seim & Catherine Tucker, 2007. "Stuck in the Adoption Funnel: The Effect of Delays in the Adoption Process on Ultimate Adoption," Working Papers 07-40, NET Institute, revised Oct 2007.
    10. Ivo Welch, 2004. "Capital Structure and Stock Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 106-131, February.
    11. Gottlieb, Daniel, 2014. "Imperfect memory and choice under risk," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 127-158.
    12. Sgroi, D., 2002. "Modelling Experience as Signal Accumulation," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0205, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    13. John Smith, 2009. "Imperfect Memory and the Preference for Increasing Payments," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(4), pages 684-700, December.
    14. David Hirshleife, 2015. "Behavioral Finance," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 133-159, December.
    15. Carlos Alós-Ferrer & Fei Shi, 2012. "Imitation with asymmetric memory," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(1), pages 193-215, January.
    16. John Smith, 2007. "Cognitive Dissonance, Imperfect Memory and the Preference for Increasing Payments," Departmental Working Papers 200705, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    17. David A. Miller & Kareen Rozen, 2009. "Need I remind you? Monitoring with collective memory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000236, David K. Levine.
    18. Elie Ofek & Muhamet Yildiz & Ernan Haruvy, 2007. "The Impact of Prior Decisions on Subsequent Valuations in a Costly Contemplation Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(8), pages 1217-1233, August.
    19. Ivo Welch, 2002. "Columbus' Egg: The Real Determinant of Capital Structure," NBER Working Papers 8782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:bla:jemstr:v:11:y:2002:i:3:p:379-421. 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: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/journals/JEMS/ .

    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.