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I'll See It When I Believe It - A Simple Model of Cognitive Consistency

  • Leeat Yariv
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    Psychological experiments demonstrate that people exhibit a taste for consistency. Individuals are inclined to interpret new evidence in ways that confirm their pre-existing beliefs. They also tend to change their beliefs to enhance the desirability of their past actions. I present a model that incorporates these effects into an agent's utility function and allows me to characterize when: (i) agents become under- and over-confident, (ii) agents exhibit excess stickiness in action choices, (iii) agents prefer less accurate signals, and (iv) agents are willing to pay in order to forgo signals altogether. Applications to political campaigns and investment decisions are explored.

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    File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d13b/d1352.pdf
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    Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1352.

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    Length: 45 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1352
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    Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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