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Cognitive Dissonance, Pessimism, and Behavioral Spillover Effects

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  • David L. Dickinson
  • Robert J. Oxoby

Abstract

This paper reports results from a unique two-stage experiment designed to examine the spillover effects of optimism and pessimism. In stage 1, we induce optimism or pessimism onto subjects by randomly assigning a high or low piece rate for performing a cognitive task. We find that participants receiving the low piece rate are significantly more pessimistic with respect to performance on this task. In stage 2 individuals participate in an ultimatum game. We find that minimum acceptable offers are significantly lower for pessimistic subjects, though this pessimism was generated in a completely unrelated environment. These results highlight the existence of important spillover effects that can be behaviorally and economically important - for example, pessimism regarding one’s initial conditions (e.g., living in poverty) may have spillover effects on one’s future labor market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • David L. Dickinson & Robert J. Oxoby, 2007. "Cognitive Dissonance, Pessimism, and Behavioral Spillover Effects," Working Papers 07-11, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:07-11
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    File URL: http://econ.appstate.edu/RePEc/pdf/wp0711.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grammar schools & stereotype threat
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-09-16 18:22:19

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anya C. Savikhin & Roman M. Sheremeta, 2013. "Simultaneous Decision-Making In Competitive And Cooperative Environments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1311-1323, April.
    2. Caplan, Arthur J. & Sims, Charles & Anderson, Elliot Jordan, 2014. "Measuring the environmental cost of hypocrisy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 124-135.
    3. Oxoby, Robert J. & Smith, Alexander, 2014. "Using Cognitive Dissonance to Manipulate Social Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 8310, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Mark Bowden, 2015. "A model of information flows and confirmatory bias in financial markets," Decisions in Economics and Finance, Springer;Associazione per la Matematica, vol. 38(2), pages 197-215, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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