Self-serving biased reference points
This paper formalizes the pervasive phenomenon of the self-serving bias within the framework of reference dependent preferences. This formulation allows the stating of a simple rule to assess the existence of the bias at the aggregate level as well as a procedure that identifies the minimum number of biased agents. We apply the model to two standard situations: a litigation between a plaintiff and a defendant and a bankruptcy problem. In the litigation case, we show how the combination of self-serving bias and reference dependent preferences increases the likelihood that a dispute proceeds to trial. In the bankruptcy case, we show how the existence of individuals with self-serving biased reference points exacerbates the conflict between equity and efficiency of the final allocation.
|Date of creation:||2011|
|Date of revision:|
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Web page: http://www.carloalberto.org/
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04-033, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
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Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt0w82b6nm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
- Thomson, William, 2003. "Axiomatic and game-theoretic analysis of bankruptcy and taxation problems: a survey," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 249-297, July.
- Eric Langlais, 2008. "Asymmetric information, self-serving bias and the pretrial negotiation impasse," EconomiX Working Papers 2008-30, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
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