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Misperceiving the value of information in predicting the performance of others

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  • George Loewenstein

    ()

  • Don Moore

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  • Roberto Weber

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Abstract

Economic models typically allow for “free disposal” or “reversibility” of information, which implies non-negative value. Building on previous research on the “curse of knowledge” we explore situations where this might not be so. In three experiments, we document situations in which participants place positive value on information in attempting to predict the performance of uninformed others, even when acquiring that information diminishes their earnings. In the first experiment, a majority of participants choose to hire informed—rather than uninformed—agents, leading to lower earnings. In the second experiment, a significant number of participants pay for information—the solution to a puzzle—that hurts their ability to predict how many others will solve the puzzle. In the third experiment, we find that the effect is reduced with experience and feedback on the actual performance to be predicted. We discuss implications of our results for the role of information and informed decision making in economic situations. Copyright Economic Science Association 2006

Suggested Citation

  • George Loewenstein & Don Moore & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Misperceiving the value of information in predicting the performance of others," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(3), pages 281-295, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:9:y:2006:i:3:p:281-295
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-006-9128-y
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10683-006-9128-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uri Gneezy & Jan Potters, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-645.
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    4. Gary Charness & Uri Gneezy, 2010. "Portfolio Choice And Risk Attitudes: An Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 133-146, January.
    5. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1997. "Information Management in Incentive Problems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 796-821, August.
    6. Camerer, Colin & Loewenstein, George & Weber, Martin, 1989. "The Curse of Knowledge in Economic Settings: An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1232-1254, October.
    7. Loewenstein, George, 1999. "Because It Is There: The Challenge of Mountaineering . . . for Utility Theory," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 315-343.
    8. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacquemet, Nicolas & Koessler, Frédéric, 2013. "Using or hiding private information? An experimental study of zero-sum repeated games with incomplete information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 103-120.
    2. Madarász, Kristóf, 2015. "Projection Equilibrium: Definition and Applications to Social Investment and Persuasion," CEPR Discussion Papers 10636, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Madarász, Kristóf, 2015. "Bargaining under the Illusion of Transparency," CEPR Discussion Papers 10327, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Silvia Dominguez-Martinez & Randolph Sloof & Ferdinand von Siemens, 2010. "Monitoring your Friends, not your Foes: Strategic Ignorance and the Delegation of Real Authority," CESifo Working Paper Series 3172, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Grossman, Zachary & van der Weele, Joël, 2013. "Self-Image and Strategic Ignorance in Moral Dilemmas," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0bp6z29t, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    6. Anders Poulsen & Michael Roos, 2010. "Do people make strategic commitments? Experimental evidence on strategic information avoidance," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 206-225, June.
    7. Madarasz, Kristof, 2008. "Information projection: model and applications," MPRA Paper 38612, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2011.
    8. Anders Poulsen & Jonathan Tan, 2007. "Information acquisition in the ultimatum game: An experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(4), pages 391-409, December.
    9. Poulsen, Anders, 2007. "Learning to Make Strategic Moves: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 10927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Anders U. Poulsen & Michael V. M. Roos, 2009. "Do People Make Strategic Moves? Experimental Evidence on Strategic Information Avoidance," Discussion Papers 09-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    11. Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia & Sloof, Randolph & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2014. "Monitored by your friends, not your foes: Strategic ignorance and the delegation of real authority," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 289-305.
    12. Russell Golman & David Hagmann & George Loewenstein, 2017. "Information Avoidance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 96-135, March.

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    Keywords

    Experiments; Information; Bias;

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