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Attitude polarization

  • Alexander Zimper
  • Alexander Ludwig

    ()

    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

Psychological evidence suggests that people’s learning behavior is often prone to a “myside bias†or “irrational belief persistence†in contrast to learning behavior exclusively based on objective data. In the context of Bayesian learning such a bias may result in diverging posterior beliefs and attitude polarization even if agents receive identical information. Such patterns cannot be explained by the standard model of rational Bayesian learning that implies convergent beliefs. As our key contribution, we therefore develop formal models of Bayesian learning with psychological bias as alternatives to rational Bayesian learning. We derive condi- tions under which beliefs may diverge in the learning process and thus conform with the psychological evidence. Key to our approach is the assumption of ambiguous beliefs that are formalized as non-additive probability measures arising in Choquet expected utility theory. As a specific feature of our approach, our models of Bayesian learning with psychological bias reduce to rational Bayesian learning in the absence of ambiguity.

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Paper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 07155.

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Date of creation: 31 Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:07155
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  10. Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2004. "Investment Behavior under Ambiguity: The Case of Pessimistic Decision Makers," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 04-31, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
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  17. Gilboa, Itzhak, 1987. "Expected utility with purely subjective non-additive probabilities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 65-88, February.
  18. Wakker, Peter P, 2001. "Testing and Characterizing Properties of Nonadditive Measures through Violations of the Sure-Thing Principle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1039-59, July.
  19. Marciano Siniscalchi, 2001. "Bayesian Updating for General Maxmin Expected Utility Preferences," Discussion Papers 1366, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  21. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
  22. Alexander Zimper, 2007. "Half empty, half full and the possibility of agreeing to disagree," Working Papers 58, Economic Research Southern Africa.
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