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Know thyself: Incompetence and overconfidence


  • Paul Ferraro


Economic analyses of asymmetric information typically start with the assumption that individuals know more about their own characteristics than outside observers. This assumption implies that individuals can accurately assess their own competence in a given domain. However, individuals can only judge their competence if they are sufficiently competent. The relationship between competence and self-awareness explains a great deal of the overconfidence observed among economic agents. More specifically, overconfidence is inversely proportional to competence. Through a series of experiments and analyses of field data, the link between incompetence and overconfidence is confirmed and its implications for economic theory are explored.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Ferraro, 2005. "Know thyself: Incompetence and overconfidence," Framed Field Experiments 00148, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00148

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