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Wishful Thinking

  • Guy Mayraz

An experiment tested whether and in what circumstances people are more likely to believe an event simply because it makes them better off. Subjects observed a financial asset's historical price chart, and received both an accuracy bonus for predicting the price at some future point, and an unconditional award that was either increasing or decreasing in this price. Despite incentives for hedging, subjects gaining from high prices made significantly higher predictions than those gaining from low prices. The magnitude of the bias was smaller in charts with less subjective uncertainty, but was independent of the amount paid for accurate predictions.

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File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1092.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1092.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1092
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Carrillo, Juan D & Mariotti, Thomas, 2000. "Strategic Ignorance as a Self-Disciplining Device," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 529-44, July.
  2. Young Park & Luís Santos-Pinto, 2010. "Overconfidence in tournaments: evidence from the field," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(1), pages 143-166, July.
  3. Gneiting, Tilmann & Raftery, Adrian E., 2007. "Strictly Proper Scoring Rules, Prediction, and Estimation," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 359-378, March.
  4. Armantier, Olivier & Treich, Nicolas, 2010. "Eliciting Beliefs: Proper Scoring Rules, Incentives, Stakes and Hedging," TSE Working Papers 10-213, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  5. Lu�s Santos-Pinto & Joel Sobel, 2005. "A Model of Positive Self-Image in Subjective Assessments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1386-1402, December.
  6. Loewenstein, George, et al, 1993. "Self-Serving Assessments of Fairness and Pretrial Bargaining," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 135-59, January.
  7. Ebonya Washington & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2009. "Sticking with Your Vote: Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 86-111, January.
  8. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory And Anticipatory Feelings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 55-79, February.
  9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  10. Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Koch, Alexander K. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2008. "Belief Elicitation in Experiments: Is there a Hedging Problem?," IZA Discussion Papers 3517, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Guy Mayraz, 2011. "Priors and Desires," CEP Discussion Papers dp1047, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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