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How laypeople and experts misperceive the effect of economic growth

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  • Christandl, Fabian
  • Fetchenhauer, Detlef

Abstract

A series of four experiments were performed to examine the accuracy of estimations of economic growth by both experts and lay people, the factors that influence the accuracy of their estimations, and which procedures they use to make estimations. The results show that for actual growth rates higher than 1%, both groups clearly underestimated growth, and the underestimation was lower for experts than for laypeople. The estimations became slightly better when the task was presented in a financial investment scenario. Incentives had no effect on the accuracy of the estimations; however, a positive influence of the need for cognition was observed. Male participants provided more accurate estimations than female participants. The common use of different, and inappropriate solution procedures, accounted for the under-estimators.

Suggested Citation

  • Christandl, Fabian & Fetchenhauer, Detlef, 2009. "How laypeople and experts misperceive the effect of economic growth," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 381-392, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:30:y:2009:i:3:p:381-392
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1993. "Monetary Rewards and Decision Cost in Experimental Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 245-261, April.
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    3. Uri Benzion & Yochanan Shachmurove & Joseph Yagil, 2004. "Subjective discount functions - an experimental approach," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(5), pages 299-311.
    4. Benzion Uri & Granot Alon & Yagil Joseph, 1992. "The valuation of the exponential function and implications for derived interest rates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 299-303, March.
    5. Rydval, Ondrej & Ortmann, Andreas, 2004. "How financial incentives and cognitive abilities affect task performance in laboratory settings: an illustration," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 315-320, December.
    6. Gilbert, Daniel T. & Gill, Michael J. & Wilson, Timothy D., 2002. "The Future Is Now: Temporal Correction in Affective Forecasting," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 430-444, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Dawson & John Seater, 2013. "Federal regulation and aggregate economic growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 137-177, June.
    2. Ludwig Ensthaler & Olga Nottmeyer & Georg Weizsäcker & Christian Zankiewicz, 2013. "Hidden Skewness: On the Difficulty of Multiplicative Compounding under Random Shocks," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1337, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Haferkamp, Alexandra & Fetchenhauer, Detlef & Belschak, Frank & Enste, Dominik, 2009. "Efficiency versus fairness: The evaluation of labor market policies by economists and laypeople," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 527-539, August.
    4. Christandl, Fabian & Fetchenhauer, Detlef & Hoelzl, Erik, 2011. "Price perception and confirmation bias in the context of a VAT increase," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 131-141, February.
    5. Lotz, Sebastian & Fix, Andrea R., 2013. "Not all financial speculation is treated equally: Laypeople’s moral judgments about speculative short selling," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 34-41.
    6. Jacob, Robert & Christandl, Fabian & Fetchenhauer, Detlef, 2011. "Economic experts or laypeople? How teachers and journalists judge trade and immigration policies," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 662-671.

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