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Second-Best Considerations in Correcting Cognitive Biases

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  • Besharov, Gregory

Abstract

Studies in psychology and behavioral economics have found that decision-making is replete with cognitive biases. Using stylized examples of time inconsistency, regret, and overconfidence, this paper illustrates possible interactions among them. As is generally true in second-best environments, the existence of biases does not imply the possibility of welfare improvements from correcting them. If only some biases are known, even correction of all known biases has ambiguous effects. With costly correction, the presence of some biases may be optimal. Further, if the correct decision is unknown, then the presence of biases does not imply that mistakes are made.

Suggested Citation

  • Besharov, Gregory, 2001. "Second-Best Considerations in Correcting Cognitive Biases," Working Papers 01-08, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:01-08
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Binder & Leonhard K. Lades, 2015. "Autonomy-Enhancing Paternalism," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 3-27, February.
    2. Akin, Zafer, 2009. "Imperfect information processing in sequential bargaining games with present biased preferences," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 642-650, August.
    3. Alan Schwartz, 2008. "How Much Irrationality Does the Market Permit?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 131-159, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

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