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Self-Esteem, Shame and Personal Motivation

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  • Dessí, Roberta
  • Zhao, Xiaojian

Abstract

Evidence from psychology suggests that overconfidence is more important in North America than in Japan. The pattern is reversed for shame, an emotion that appears to play a more important role among Japanese than North Americans. We develop a model that endogenizes these differences, building on a tradeoff between the benefits of encouraging self-improvement and the benefits of promoting initiative and new investments. Overconfidence and high sensitivity to shame emerge as substitute mechanisms to induce efficient decisions. We identify the key equilibrium costs as well as benefits of reliance on each mechanism, and the implications for welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Dessí, Roberta & Zhao, Xiaojian, 2011. "Self-Esteem, Shame and Personal Motivation," CEPR Discussion Papers 8722, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8722
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2012. "Europe's Tired, Poor, Huddled Masses: Self-Selection and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1832-1856, August.
    2. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2007. "Beyond Revealed Preference Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," Discussion Papers 07-031, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    3. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2009. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 51-104.
    4. Moriguchi, Chiaki & Ono, Hiroshi, 2004. "Japanese Lifetime Employment: A Century's Perspective," EIJS Working Paper Series 205, Stockholm School of Economics, The European Institute of Japanese Studies.
    5. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
    6. Wood, Stacy L & Lynch, John G, Jr, 2002. " Prior Knowledge and Complacency in New Product Learning," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 416-426, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana I. Balsa & Michael T. French & Tracy L. Regan, 2012. "Relative Deprivation and Risky Behaviors," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1203, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    2. Fuhai HONG & Xiaojian ZHAO, 2014. "Sunk Cost as a Self-Disciplining Device," Economic Growth Centre Working Paper Series 1503, Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences, Economic Growth Centre.
    3. Gabriella Cagliesi & Denise Hawkes & Max Tookey, 2015. "A Multidimensional approach to workless-ness: a matter of opportunities, social factors and individual's idiosyncrasies," DoQSS Working Papers 15-01, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cultural transmission; overconfidence; shame;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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