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The Self-Perpetuation of Biased Beliefs

  • Wing Suen

To overcome strong prior beliefs, strong evidence to the contrary is needed. If a person is predisposed to choosing a certain action, the advice from an advisor who sets a low threshold for recommending the alternative action is not of much use. The preference for like-minded advisors who supply coarse information implies that the advice a person receives is likely to reinforce his existing priors. This effect can lead to polarisation of opinion and the emergence of self-serving beliefs. The learning process is prolonged and the induced short run bias can become perpetual if information is costly. Copyright 2004 Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 114 (2004)
Issue (Month): 495 (04)
Pages: 377-396

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:114:y:2004:i:495:p:377-396
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