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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. 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).
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  4. Armantier, Olivier & Treich, Nicolas, 2010. "Eliciting Beliefs: Proper Scoring Rules, Incentives, Stakes and Hedging," TSE Working Papers 10-156, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
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  7. 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.
  8. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 55-79.
  9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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  11. Olivier Compte & Andrew Postlewaite, 2001. "Confidence-Enhanced Performance," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-023, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 May 2003.
  12. Sendhil Mullainathan & Ebonya Washington, 2006. "Sticking with Your Vote: Cognitive Dissonance and Voting," NBER Working Papers 11910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Luís 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.
  14. Juan D. Carrillo & Thomas Mariotti, 2000. "Strategic Ignorance as a Self-Disciplining Device," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 529-544.
  15. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  16. Guy Mayraz, 2011. "Priors and Desires," CEP Discussion Papers dp1047, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  17. Young Park & Luís Santos-Pinto, 2010. "Overconfidence in tournaments: evidence from the field," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(1), pages 143-166, July.
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