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Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility

  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Alois Stutzer

    ()

    (University of Basel)

A framework is proposed for organizing phenomena related to the (mis)prediction of utility, in particular neglecting adaptation. A categorization is introduced that accounts for asymmetries in misprediction. In decision-making, goods and activities satisfying extrinsic desires are more salient than those serving intrinsic needs. Accordingly, there is an overconsumption of the former compared to the latter. The theoretical analysis is consistent with econometric evidence on commuting choice using data on subjective well-being. People show substantial adaptation to a higher labor income but not to commuting. This may account for the finding that people are not compensated for the burden of commuting.

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Paper provided by Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel in its series Working papers with number 2008/01.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2008/01
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  23. Di Tella, Rafael & Haisken-De New, John & MacCulloch, Robert, 2010. "Happiness adaptation to income and to status in an individual panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 834-852, December.
  24. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 39-59, 02.
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  37. Luis Rayo & Gary S. Becker, 2007. "Evolutionary Efficiency and Happiness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 302-337.
  38. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
  39. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-12, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
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