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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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    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.
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    3. 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.
    4. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cagliesi, Maria & Hawkes, Denise & De Vita, Riccardo, 2012. "A multidimensional approach to worklessness: a matter of opportunities, social factors and individual’s idiosyncrasies," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 7747, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    2. Ana I. Balsa & Michael T. French & Tracy L. Regan, 2014. "Relative Deprivation and Risky Behaviors," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(2), pages 446-471.
    3. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cultural transmission; overconfidence; shame;
    All these keywords.

    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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