Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility
People exaggerate the degree to which their future tastes will resemble their current tastes. We present evidence from a variety of domains which demonstrates the prevalence of such projection bias, develop a formal model of it, and use this model to demonstrate its importance in economic environments. Projection bias leads people to overvalue reference-dependent goods and magnifies the endowment effect. It can cause misguided purchases of durable goods. When there is habit formation, projection bias can lead people to consume too much early in life, and to decide, as time passes, to consume more--and save less--than originally planned.
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