IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/awi/wpaper/0662.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A short note on the rationality of the false consensus effect

Author

Listed:
  • Vanberg, Christoph

Abstract

In experiments which measure subjects’ beliefs, both beliefs about others’ behavior and beliefs about others’ beliefs, are often correlated with a subject’s own choices. Such phenomena have been interpreted as evidence of a causal relationship between beliefs and behavior. An alternative explanation attributes them to what psychologists refer to as a ‘false consensus effect’. It is my impression that the latter explanation is often prematurely dismissed because it is thought to be based on an implausible psychological bias. The goal of this note is to show that the false consensus effect does not rely on such a bias. I demonstrate that rational belief formation implies a correlation of behavior and beliefs of all orders whenever behaviorally relevant traits are drawn from an unknown common distribution. Thus, if we assume that subjects rationally update beliefs, correlations of beliefs and behavior cannot support a causal relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Vanberg, Christoph, 2019. "A short note on the rationality of the false consensus effect," Working Papers 0662, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0662
    Note: This paper is part of http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/view/schriftenreihen/sr-3.html
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn/resolver.pl?urn=urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-heidok-264097
    File Function: Frontdoor page on HeiDOK
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/26409/1/Vanberg_2019_dp662.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Schmidt, Robert & Schwieren, Christiane & Sproten, Alec N., 2020. "Norms in the lab: Inexperienced versus experienced participants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 239-255.
    2. Facundo Albornoz & Jake Bradley & Silvia Sonderegger, 2020. "The Brexit referendum and the rise in hate crime; conforming to the new norm," Discussion Papers 2020-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    beliefs; behavioral economics; experimental economics;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0662. 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: (Gabi Rauscher) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Gabi Rauscher to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/awheide.html .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.