IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Don’t aim too high: the potential costs of high aspirations

  • Astrid Matthey
  • Nadja Dwenger

The higher our aspirations, the higher the probability that we have to adjust them downwards when forming more realistic expectations later on. This paper shows that the costs induced by high aspirations are not trivial. We first develop a theoretical framework to identify the factors that determine the effect of aspirations on expected utility. Then we present evidence from a lab experiment on the factor found to be crucial: the adjustment of reference states to changes in expectations. The results suggest that the costs of high aspirations can be significant, since reference states do not adjust quickly. We use a novel, indirect approach that allows us to infer the determinants of the reference state from observed behavior, rather than to rely on cheap talk.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de/papers/pdf/SFB649DP2008-011.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2008-011.

as
in new window

Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2008-011
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Spandauer Str. 1,10178 Berlin

Phone: +49-30-2093-5708
Fax: +49-30-2093-5617
Web page: http://sfb649.wiwi.hu-berlin.de
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. SHALEV, Jonathan, . "Loss aversion equilibrium," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1456, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Andrew B. Abel, . "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation and Catching Up With the Jones," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 01-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  3. Botond Kőszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165.
  4. Sagi, Jacob S., 2006. "Anchored preference relations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 283-295, September.
  5. Cochrane, John H. & Campbell, John, 1999. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Scholarly Articles 3119444, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Selten, Reinhard, 1996. "Aspiration Adaptation Theory," Discussion Paper Serie B 389, University of Bonn, Germany.
  7. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
  8. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
  9. Ng, Yew-Kwang & Wang, Jianguo, 2001. "Attitude choice, economic change, and welfare," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 279-291, July.
  10. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
  11. Michael McBride, 2007. "Money, Happiness, and Aspirations: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 060721, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
  12. John Y. Campbell & John Cochrane, 1999. "Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 205-251, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2008-011. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (RDC-Team)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.