Attenuating focalism in affective forecasts of the commuting experience: Implications for economic decisions and policy making
Focalism is a cognitive bias that overweights the contribution of certain attributes to the consumption experience. This paper proposes that focalism afflicts choice of transport mode for commuting. A field study and two experiments provide evidence that commuting by bus is estimated to be less enjoyable than it is experienced to be and that driving to work is estimated to be more enjoyable than it is experienced to be. To the extent that commuting behavior is informed by subjective expected utility, commuters will inflict unanticipated costs on themselves and on society. Transport mode choice has external and dynamic consequences. Focalism in this domain implies welfare distortions that are worthy of policymakers’ attention. This paper develops a novel debiasing technique, Affective Averaging, that reveals and attenuates focalism in affective forecasts of commuting.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Aaron S. Edlin & Pinar Karaca-Mandic, 2004.
"The Accident Externality from Driving,"
- Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, 09.
- Loewenstein, George & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Hedonic adaptation and the role of decision and experience utility in public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1795-1810, August.
- Knabe, Andreas & Rätzel, Steffen & Schöb, Ronnie & Weimann, Joachim, 2009.
"Dissatisfied with life, but having a good day: time-use and well-being of the unemployed,"
2009/13, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
- Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel & Ronnie Schöb & Joachim Weimann, 2010. "Dissatisfied with Life but Having a Good Day: Time-use and Well-being of the Unemployed," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(547), pages 867-889, 09.
- Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel & Ronnie Schöb & Joachim Weimann, 2009. "Dissatisfied with Life, but Having a Good Day: Time-Use and Well-Being of the Unemployed," CESifo Working Paper Series 2604, CESifo Group Munich.
- Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel & Ronnie Schöb & Steffen Rätzel & Joachim Weimann, 2009. "Dissatisfied with life, but having a good day- time-use and well-being of the unemployed," FEMM Working Papers 09011, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
- Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2006.
"Does Happiness Adapt? A Longitudinal Study of Disability with Implications for Economists and Judges,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2208, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
- Nick Sevdalis & Nigel Harvey, 2009. "Reducing the impact bias in judgments of post-decisional affect: Distraction or task interference?," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(4), pages 287-296, June.
- Michael Daly & Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon & Peter Doran & Malcolm MacLachlan, 2009.
"Naturalistic monitoring of the affect-heart rate relationship : a day reconstruction study,"
Open Access publications
10197/1214, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
- Michael Daly & Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon & Peter Doran & Malcolm MacLachlan, 2009. "Naturalistic monitoring of the affect-heart rate relationship: A Day Reconstruction Study," Working Papers 200901, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
- Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805.
- Michael Hoerger & Stuart W. Quirk & Richard E. Lucas & Thomas H. Carr, 2010. "Cognitive determinants of affective forecasting errors," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 5(5), pages 365-373, August.
- Maria Pollai & Erik Hoelzl & Flavia Possas, 2010. "Consumption-related emotions over time: Fit between prediction and experience," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 397-411, December.
- Ian W. H. Parry & Margaret Walls & Winston Harrington, 2007.
"Automobile Externalities and Policies,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 45(2), pages 373-399, June.
- Steg, Linda, 2005. "Car use: lust and must. Instrumental, symbolic and affective motives for car use," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 147-162.
- Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and Public Policy: a Challenge to the Profession," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 24-33, 03.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:5:p:691-699. 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)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.