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Learning about one's self

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  • Le Yaouanq, Yves
  • Schwardmann, Peter

Abstract

How can naiveté about present bias persist despite experience? To answer this question, our experiment investigates participants' ability to learn from their own behavior. Participants decide how much to work on a real effort task on two predetermined dates. In the week preceding each work date, they state their commitment preferences and predictions of future effort. While we find that participants are present biased and initially naive about their bias, our methodology enables us to establish that they are Bayesian in how they learn from their experience at the first work date. A treatment in which we vary the nature of the task at the second date further shows that learning is unencumbered by a change in environment. Our results suggest that persistent naiveté cannot be explained by a fundamental inferential bias. At the same time, we find that participants initially underestimate the information that their experience will provide - a bias that may lead to underinvestment in experimentation and a failure to activate self-regulation mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Le Yaouanq, Yves & Schwardmann, Peter, 2019. "Learning about one's self," CEPR Discussion Papers 13510, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13510
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    Cited by:

    1. Marc Kaufmann, 2021. "Projection Bias in Effort Choices," Papers 2104.04327, arXiv.org.
    2. Kai Barron, 2021. "Belief updating: does the ‘good-news, bad-news’ asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(1), pages 31-58, March.
    3. Barron, Kai, 2020. "Belief updating: does the `good-news, bad-news' asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    4. Else Gry Bro Christensen & Takeshi Murooka, 2020. "Procrastination and Learning about Self-Control," OSIPP Discussion Paper 20E001, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bayesian updating; learning; Naivete; present bias;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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