IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Are the Unskilled Really That Unaware? Understanding Seemingly Biased Self-Assessments

  • Marian Krajc

The so-called unskilled-and-unaware problem was experimentally identified a decade ago: The unskilled are seemingly afflicted by a double curse because they also seem unaware of their (relative) lack of skills. Numerous authors have elaborated on this problem – experimentally as well as theoretically. In this paper, we report on the results of three experiments (one field, two laboratory) through which we test a theoretical model and some informal extensions. Specifically, we examine the impact of general information and specific information (feedback) on the quality of self-assessment (“calibration”) in various tasks and under various conditions. Overconfidence behavior initially prevails in almost all settings. We find a strong positive effect of general information on calibration, and show that calibration improves more when feedback is provided. In our experiments, it is the unskilled who improve their calibration the most.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp373.

in new window

Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp373
Contact details of provider: Postal: P.O. Box 882, Politickych veznu 7, 111 21 Praha 1
Phone: (+420) 224 005 123
Fax: (+420) 224 005 333
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. John Duffy & Ed Hopkins, 2001. "Learning, Information and Sorting in Market Entry Games: Theory and Evidence," ESE Discussion Papers 78, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  2. Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann, 2004. "How financial incentives and cognitive abilities affect task performance in laboratory settings: An illustration," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp221, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  3. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2000. "The False Consensus Effect Disappears if Representative Information and Monetary Incentives Are Given," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 241-260, December.
  4. Krajc, Marian & Ortmann, Andreas, 2008. "Are the unskilled really that unaware? An alternative explanation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 724-738, November.
  5. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
  6. Erik Hoelzl & Aldo Rustichini, 2005. "Overconfident: Do You Put Your Money On It?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 305-318, 04.
  7. repec:kap:expeco:v:5:y:2002:i:2:p:91-110 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Cesarini, David & Sandewall, Orjan & Johannesson, Magnus, 2006. "Confidence interval estimation tasks and the economics of overconfidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 453-470, November.
  9. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman, 2000. "Volunteers and Pseudo-Volunteers: The Effect of Recruitment Method in Dictator Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 107-120, October.
  10. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp373. 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: (Jana Koudelkova)

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.