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The Positive Effects of Biased Self-Perceptions in Firms

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  • Simon Gervais
  • Itay Goldstein

Abstract

We study a firm in which the marginal productivity of agents' effort increases with the effort of others. We show that the presence of an agent who overestimates his marginal productivity may make all agents better off, including the biased agent himself. This Pareto improvement is obtained even when compensation contracts are set endogenously to maximize firm value. We show that the presence of a leader improves coordination, but self-perception biases can never be Pareto-improving when they affect the leader. Self-perception biases are also shown to affect job assignments within firms and the likelihood and value of mergers. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

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  • Simon Gervais & Itay Goldstein, 2007. "The Positive Effects of Biased Self-Perceptions in Firms," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 11(3), pages 453-496.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revfin:v:11:y:2007:i:3:p:453-496
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    2. Jean-Louis Rullière & Luis Santos Pinto & Isabelle Vialle, 2011. "Self-Confidence and Teamwork : An Experimental Test," Post-Print halshs-00632091, HAL.
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    5. Sandra Ludwig & Julia Nafziger, 2011. "Beliefs about overconfidence," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(4), pages 475-500, April.
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    9. de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique, 2011. "Overconfidence and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 429-451.
    10. Bernard Herskovic & Joao Ramos, 2016. "Acquiring information through peers," 2016 Meeting Papers 248, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Schrand, Catherine M. & Zechman, Sarah L.C., 2012. "Executive overconfidence and the slippery slope to financial misreporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 311-329.
    12. Puri, Manju & Robinson, David T., 2007. "Optimism and economic choice," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 71-99, October.
    13. Sergei Izmalkov & Muhamet Yildiz, 2010. "Investor Sentiments," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 21-38, February.
    14. Thoma, Carmen, 2013. "Is Underconfidence Favored over Overconfidence? An Experiment on the Perception of a Biased Self-Assessment," Discussion Papers in Economics 17460, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    15. Takao Asano & Takuma Kunieda & Akihisa Shibata, 2015. "Overconfidence, Underconfidence, and Welfare," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 171(2), pages 372-384, June.
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    17. Edmans, Alex & Goldstein, Itay & Zhu, John, 2011. "Contracting with Synergies," Working Papers 11-65, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    18. Bond, Philip & Newman, Andrew F., 2009. "Prohibitions on punishments in private contracts," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 526-540, October.
    19. Prokudina, Elena & Renneboog, Luc & Tobler, Philippe, 2015. "Does Confidence Predict Out-of-Domain Effort?," Discussion Paper 2015-055, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    20. Pikulina, E.S. & Renneboog, L.D.R. & Tobler, P.N., 2014. "Overconfidence, Effort, and Investment (Revised version of CentER DP 2013-035)," Discussion Paper 2014-039, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    21. Otto, Clemens A., 2014. "CEO optimism and incentive compensation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 366-404.
    22. Steven N. Kaplan & Morten Sorensen, 2017. "Are CEOs Different? Characteristics of Top Managers," NBER Working Papers 23832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Pikulina, Elena & Renneboog, Luc & Tobler, Philippe N., 2017. "Overconfidence and investment: An experimental approach," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 175-192.
    24. Carmen Thoma, 2016. "Under- versus overconfidence: an experiment on how others perceive a biased self-assessment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(1), pages 218-239, March.
    25. Sikdar, Shiva, 2015. "On efforts in teams with stereotypes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 203-207.

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