IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Belief elicitation in experiments: is there a hedging problem?

  • Mariana Blanco


  • Dirk Engelmann


  • Alexander Koch


  • Hans-Theo Normann


Belief elicitation in economics experiments usually relies on paying subjects according to the accuracy of stated beliefs in addition to payments for other decisions. Such incentives, however, allow risk-averse subjects to hedge with their stated beliefs against adverse outcomes of other decisions in the experiment. This raises two questions: (i) can we trust the existing belief elicitation results, (ii) can we avoid potential hedging confounds? Our results instill confidence regarding both issues. We propose an experimental design that eliminates hedging opportunities, and use this to test for the empirical relevance of hedging effects in the lab. We find no evidence for hedging, comparing the standard “hedging-prone” belief elicitation treatment to a “hedging-proof” design in a sequential prisoners’ dilemma game. Our findings are strengthened by the absence of hedging even in an additional non-belief elicitation treatment using a financial investment frame, where hedging arguably would be most natural.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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.

File URL:
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 under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Experimental Economics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 412-438

in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:13:y:2010:i:4:p:412-438
Contact details of provider: Web page:

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.:

as in new window
  1. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2010. "A within-subject analysis of other-regarding preferences," DICE Discussion Papers 06, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  2. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869, August.
  3. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "A Theory of Reciprocity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Croson, Rachel T. A., 2000. "Thinking like a game theorist: factors affecting the frequency of equilibrium play," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 299-314, March.
  5. Bolle, Friedel & Ockenfels, Peter, 1990. "Prisoners' Dilemma as a game with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 69-84, March.
  6. Simon Gaechter & Elke Renner, 2006. "The Effects of (Incentivized) Belief Elicitation in Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2006-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  7. Fehr, Ernst & Kirchsteiger, George & Riedl, Arno, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-59, May.
  8. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
  9. Engelmann, Dirk & Strobel, Martin, 1999. "The false consensus effect disappears if representative information and monetary incentives are given," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,66, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  10. Clark, Kenneth & Sefton, Martin, 2001. "The Sequential Prisoner's Dilemma: Evidence on Reciprocation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 51-68, January.
  11. Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Georg Weizsäcker, 2004. "Stated Beliefs and Play in Normal-Form Games," ISER Discussion Paper 0614, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  12. Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter, 2002. "An Experimental Study of Belief Learning Using Elicited Beliefs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 971-1005, May.
  13. Terrance Hurley & Jason Shogren, 2005. "An Experimental Comparison of Induced and Elicited Beliefs," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 169-188, January.
  14. Daniel Friedman & Shyam Sunder, 2011. "Risky Curves: From Unobservable Utility to Observable Opportunity Sets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1819, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  15. Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Pfleiderer, Paul, 1985. "Delegated portfolio management," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-25, June.
  16. Beattie, Jane & Loomes, Graham, 1997. "The Impact of Incentives upon Risky Choice Experiments," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 155-68, March.
  17. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  18. Karni, Edi, 1999. "Elicitation of Subjective Probabilities When Preferences Are State-Dependent," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 479-86, May.
  19. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  20. Shlomo Benartzi, 2001. "Excessive Extrapolation and the Allocation of 401(k) Accounts to Company Stock," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1747-1764, October.
  21. Isaac, R Mark & James, Duncan, 2000. " Just Who Are You Calling Risk Averse?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 177-87, March.
  22. Siegfried Berninghaus & Werner Güth & M. Vittoria Levati & Jianying Qiu, 2006. "Satisficing in sales competition: experimental evidence," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-32, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  23. Holt, Charles A, 1986. "Preference Reversals and the Independence Axiom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 508-15, June.
  24. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  25. Edi Karni, 2009. "A Mechanism for Eliciting Probabilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 603-606, 03.
  26. Erev, Ido & Bornstein, Gary & Wallsten, Thomas S., 1993. "The Negative Effect of Probability Assessments on Decision Quality," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 78-94, June.
  27. Pedro Rey-Biel, 2015. "Equilibrium Play and Best Response to (Stated) Beliefs in Normal Form Games," Working Papers 318, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  28. Guerra, Gerardo & John Zizzo, Daniel, 2004. "Trust responsiveness and beliefs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 25-30, September.
  29. Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Georg Weizs�cker, 2008. "Stated Beliefs and Play in Normal-Form Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 729-762.
  30. Offerman, Theo & Sonnemans, Joep & Schram, Arthur, 1996. "Value Orientations, Expectations and Voluntary Contributions in Public Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 817-45, July.
  31. Mariana Blanco & Dirk Engelmann & Alexander Koch & Hans-Theo Normann, 2010. "Belief elicitation in experiments: is there a hedging problem?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 412-438, December.
  32. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
  33. Huck, Steffen & Weizsacker, Georg, 2002. "Do players correctly estimate what others do? : Evidence of conservatism in beliefs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 71-85, January.
  34. Gerlinde Fellner & Boris Maciejovsky, . "The Equity Home Bias: Contrasting An Institutional With A Behavioral Explanation," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2003-03, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  35. Nathaniel T. Wilcox & Nick Feltovich, 2000. "Thinking Like a Game Theorist: Comment," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-30, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  36. Olivier Armantier & Nicolas Treich, 2009. "Subjective Probabilities In Games: An Application To The Overbidding Puzzle," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1079-1102, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:13:y:2010:i:4:p:412-438. 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: (Sonal Shukla)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.