IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jobhdp/v116y2011i2p262-271.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

True overconfidence: The inability of rational information processing to account for apparent overconfidence

Author

Listed:
  • Merkle, Christoph
  • Weber, Martin

Abstract

The better-than-average effect describes the tendency of people to perceive their skills and virtues as being above average. We derive a new experimental paradigm to distinguish between two possible explanations for the effect, namely rational information processing and overconfidence. Experiment participants evaluate their relative position within the population by stating their complete belief distribution. This approach sidesteps recent methodology concerns associated with previous research. We find that people hold beliefs about their abilities in different domains and tasks which are inconsistent with rational information processing. Both on an aggregated and an individual level, they show considerable overplacement. We conclude that overconfidence is not only apparent overconfidence but rather the consequence of a psychological bias.

Suggested Citation

  • Merkle, Christoph & Weber, Martin, 2011. "True overconfidence: The inability of rational information processing to account for apparent overconfidence," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 262-271.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:116:y:2011:i:2:p:262-271
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2011.07.004
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597811000951
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Moore, Don A. & Cain, Daylian M., 2007. "Overconfidence and underconfidence: When and why people underestimate (and overestimate) the competition," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 197-213, July.
    2. Klayman, Joshua & Soll, Jack B. & Gonzalez-Vallejo, Claudia & Barlas, Sema, 1999. "Overconfidence: It Depends on How, What, and Whom You Ask, , , , , , , , ," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 216-247, September.
    3. Terrance Odean., 1996. "Volume, Volatility, Price and Profit When All Trader Are Above Average," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-266, University of California at Berkeley.
    4. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2005. "CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2661-2700, December.
    5. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    6. Ehrlinger, Joyce & Johnson, Kerri & Banner, Matthew & Dunning, David & Kruger, Justin, 2008. "Why the unskilled are unaware: Further explorations of (absent) self-insight among the incompetent," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 98-121, January.
    7. Olivier Compte & Andrew Postlewaite, 2004. "Confidence-Enhanced Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1536-1557, December.
    8. Brad M. Barber & Terrance Odean, 2000. "Trading Is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 773-806, April.
    9. Kent Daniel & David Hirshleifer & Avanidhar Subrahmanyam, 1998. "Investor Psychology and Security Market Under- and Overreactions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1839-1885, December.
    10. Cooper, Arnold C. & Woo, Carolyn Y. & Dunkelberg, William C., 1988. "Entrepreneurs' perceived chances for success," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 97-108.
    11. Markus Glaser & Martin Weber, 2007. "Overconfidence and trading volume," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory, Springer;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 32(1), pages 1-36, June.
    12. Benoît, Jean-Pierre & Dubra, Juan, 2007. "Overconfidence?," MPRA Paper 5505, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Larrick, Richard P. & Burson, Katherine A. & Soll, Jack B., 2007. "Social comparison and confidence: When thinking you're better than average predicts overconfidence (and when it does not)," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 76-94, January.
    14. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
    15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    16. Jose A. Scheinkman & Wei Xiong, 2003. "Overconfidence and Speculative Bubbles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1183-1219, December.
    17. Luís Santos-Pinto & Joel Sobel, 2005. "A Model of Positive Self-Image in Subjective Assessments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1386-1402, December.
    18. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Eric Van den Steen, 2004. "Rational Overoptimism (and Other Biases)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1141-1151, September.
    20. Dawes, Robyn M. & Mulford, Matthew, 1996. "The False Consensus Effect and Overconfidence: Flaws in Judgment or Flaws in How We Study Judgment?," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 201-211, March.
    21. Reinhard Selten, 1998. "Axiomatic Characterization of the Quadratic Scoring Rule," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 43-61, June.
    22. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D, 2002. "Are We All Better Drivers than Average? Self-Perception and Biased Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 3603, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    23. Juslin, Peter, 1994. "The Overconfidence Phenomenon as a Consequence of Informal Experimenter-Guided Selection of Almanac Items," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 226-246, February.
    24. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Volume, Volatility, Price, and Profit When All Traders Are Above Average," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1887-1934, December.
    25. Botond Köszegi, 2006. "Ego Utility, Overconfidence, and Task Choice," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 673-707, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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:eee:jobhdp:v:116:y:2011:i:2:p:262-271. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp .

    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.