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Emotional decision-makers and anomalous attitudes towards information

  • Francesca Barigozzi


  • Rosella Levaggi


We use a simple version of the Psychological Expected Utility Model (Caplin and Leahy, QJE, 2001) to analyze the optimal choice of information accuracy by an individual who is concerned with anticipatory feeling. The individual faces the following trade-off: on the one hand information may lead to emotional costs, on the other the higher the information accuracy, the higher the efficiency of decision-making. We completely and explicitly characterize how anticipatory utility depends on information accuracy, and study the optimal amount of information acquisition. We obtain simple and explicit conditions under which the individual prefers no-information or partial information gathering. We show that anomalous attitudes towards information can be more articulated than previously thought.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

Volume (Year): 40 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 255-280

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:40:y:2010:i:3:p:255-280
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  1. Caplin, A. & Leahy, J., 1999. "The Supply of Information by a Concerned Expert," Working Papers 99-08, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Niklas Karlsson & George Loewenstein & Duane Seppi, 2009. "The ostrich effect: Selective attention to information," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 95-115, April.
  3. Eliaz, Kfir & Spiegler, Ran, 2006. "Can anticipatory feelings explain anomalous choices of information sources?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 87-104, July.
  4. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
  5. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1997. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," Working Papers 97-37, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  6. Caplin, Andrew & Eliaz, Kfir, 2003. " AIDS Policy and Psychology: A Mechanism-Design Approach," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(4), pages 631-46, Winter.
  7. Botond Kdszegi, 2006. "Emotional Agency," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 121-155, 02.
  8. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1991. "All-or-nothing information control," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 111-113, October.
  9. Barigozzi, Francesca & Levaggi, Rosella, 2008. "Emotions in physician agency," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 1-14, October.
  10. Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Health anxiety and patient behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 1073-1084, November.
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