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Overconfidence by Bayesian Rational Agents

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  • Eric Van den Steen

    () (Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit)

Abstract

This paper derives two mechanisms through which Bayesian-rational individuals with differing priors will tend to be relatively overconfident about their estimates and predictions, in the sense of overestimating the precision of these estimates. The intuition behind one mechanism is slightly ironic: in trying to update optimally, Bayesian agents overweight information of which they over-estimate the precision and underweight in the opposite case. This causes overall an over-estimation of the precision of the final estimate, which tends to increase as agents get more data.

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  • Eric Van den Steen, 2010. "Overconfidence by Bayesian Rational Agents," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-049, Harvard Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:11-049
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    Cited by:

    1. Vilkkumaa, Eeva & Liesiö, Juuso & Salo, Ahti, 2014. "Optimal strategies for selecting project portfolios using uncertain value estimates," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 233(3), pages 772-783.
    2. Alonso, Ricardo & Câmara, Odilon, 2016. "Bayesian persuasion with heterogeneous priors," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 672-706.
    3. Lu, Xin & Shang, Jennifer & Wu, Shin-yi & Hegde, Gajanan G. & Vargas, Luis & Zhao, Daozhi, 2015. "Impacts of supplier hubris on inventory decisions and green manufacturing endeavors," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 245(1), pages 121-132.
    4. Alonso, Ricardo & Câmara, Odilon, 2016. "Political disagreement and information in elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 390-412.
    5. Mikael Apel & Carl Andreas Claussen & Petra Gerlach-Kristen & Petra Lennartsdotter & Øistein Røisland, 2013. "Monetary policy decisions – comparing theory and “inside” information from MPC members," Working Paper 2013/03, Norges Bank.
    6. J. A. García & Rosa Rodriguez-Sánchez & J. Fdez-Valdivia, 2016. "Why the referees’ reports I receive as an editor are so much better than the reports I receive as an author?," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 106(3), pages 967-986, March.
    7. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:1119-:d:140162 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Citci, Sadettin Haluk & Inci, Eren, 2016. "Career concerns and Bayesian overconfidence of managers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 137-159.
    9. Kataria, Mitesh, 2017. "How long do you think it will take? Field Evidence on Gender Differences in Time Optimism," Working Papers in Economics 694, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    10. Martin Koudstaal & Randolph Sloof & Mirjam van Praag, 2015. "Are Entrepreneurs more Optimistic and Overconfident than Managers and Employees?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-124/VII, Tinbergen Institute.

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