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Behavioral Biases are Temporally Stable


  • Victor Stango
  • Jonathan Zinman


Social scientists often consider temporal stability when assessing the usefulness of a construct and its measures, but whether behavioral biases display such stability is relatively unknown. We estimate stability for 25 biases, in a nationally representative sample, using repeated elicitations three years apart. Bias level indicators are largely stable in the aggregate and within-person. Within-person intertemporal rank correlations imply moderate stability and increase dramatically when using other biases as instrumental variables. Additional results reinforce three key inferences: biases are stable, accounting for classical measurement error in bias elicitation data is important, and eliciting multiple measures of multiple biases is valuable.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2020. "Behavioral Biases are Temporally Stable," NBER Working Papers 27860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27860

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    Cited by:

    1. Maya Haran Rosen & Orly Sade, 2021. "The Disparate Effect of Nudges on Minority Groups," Bank of Israel Working Papers 2021.21, Bank of Israel.
    2. Berson, Clémence & Lardeux, Raphael & Lelarge, Claire, 2021. "The Cognitive Load of Financing Constraints: Evidence from Large-Scale Wage Surveys," CEPR Discussion Papers 16541, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C36 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • E70 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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