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Illusion of Control and the Pursuit of Authority

  • Randolph Sloof
  • Ferdinand von Siemens

In a laboratory experiment, we measure subjects’ willingness to pay for a transparently useless decision right concerning the choice between two real effort tasks. We also elicit for each participant her change in beliefs about the likelihood of receiving her preferred task if she rather than another participant makes the decision. Participants pay more to keep control if they - irrationally - believe that they can increase the probability of getting their preferred task by keeping control. We thus document that illusion of control exists in a controlled environment with monetary incentives, and that illusion of control might affect people’s pursuit of authority.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2014/wp-cesifo-2014-04/cesifo1_wp4764.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4764.

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Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4764
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  1. Björn Bartling & Ernst Fehr & Holger Herz, 2013. "The intrinsic value of decision rights," ECON - Working Papers 120, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jun 2014.
  2. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
  3. Ernst Fehr & Holger Herz & Tom Wilkening, 2012. "The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive Effects of Power," CESifo Working Paper Series 4021, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Juan Dubra & Jean-Pierre Benoit, 2011. "Apparent Overconfidence," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1106, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
  5. Karl Schlag & James Tremewan & Joel van der Weele, 2014. "A Penny for Your Thoughts:A Survey of Methods for Eliciting Beliefs," Vienna Economics Papers 1401, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  6. Gary Charness & Uri Gneezy, 2010. "Portfolio Choice And Risk Attitudes: An Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 133-146, 01.
  7. Gunnthorsdottir, Anna & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2002. "Using the Machiavellianism instrument to predict trustworthiness in a bargaining game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 49-66, February.
  8. Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia & Sloof, Randolph & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2014. "Monitored by your friends, not your foes: Strategic ignorance and the delegation of real authority," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 289-305.
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