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Belief updating: Does the 'good-news, bad-news' asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?

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  • Barron, Kai

Abstract

Bayes’ statistical rule remains the status quo for modeling belief updating in both normative and descriptive models of behavior under uncertainty. Recent research has questioned the use of Bayes’ rule in descriptive models of behavior, presenting evidence that people overweight ‘good news’ relative to ‘bad news’ when updating ego-relevant beliefs. In this paper, we present experimental evidence testing whether this ‘good-news, bad-news’ effect extends to belief updating in the domain of financial decision making, i.e. the domain of most applied economic decision making. We find no evidence of asymmetric updating in this domain. In contrast, the average participant in our experiment is strikingly close to Bayesian in her belief updating. However, we show that this average behavior masks substantial heterogeneity in updating behavior, but we find no evidence in support of a sizeable subgroup of asymmetric updators.

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  • Barron, Kai, 2018. "Belief updating: Does the 'good-news, bad-news' asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?," MPRA Paper 84742, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:84742
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Buser & Leonie Gerhards & Joël Weele, 2018. "Responsiveness to feedback as a personal trait," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 56(2), pages 165-192, April.
    2. Daniel J. Benjamin, 2018. "Errors in Probabilistic Reasoning and Judgment Biases," NBER Working Papers 25200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Nisvan Erkal & Lata Gangadharan & Boon Han Koh, 2018. "Attribution biases in Leadership: Is it effort or luck ?," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 2040, The University of Melbourne.
    4. Le Yaouanq, Yves & Schwardmann, Peter, 2019. "Learning about one's self," CEPR Discussion Papers 13510, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Barron, Kai, 2016. "Belief updating: Does the 'good-news, bad-news' asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2016-309, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    6. Alexander Coutts, 2019. "Good news and bad news are still news: experimental evidence on belief updating," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(2), pages 369-395, June.
    7. Pleshcheva, Vlada & Klapper, Daniel & Dannewald, Till, 2019. "On Factors of Consumer Heterogeneity in (Mis)Valuation of Future Energy Costs: Evidence for the German Automobile Market," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 140, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    8. Jan Engelmann & Maël Lebreton & Peter Schwardmann & Joël van der Weele & Li-Ang Chang, 2019. "Anticipatory Anxiety and Wishful Thinking," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-042/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. Alexander Coutts, 2017. "Good news and bad news are still news: Experimental evidence on belief updating," FEUNL Working Paper Series novaf:wp1703, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic experiments; Bayes’ rule; belief updating; belief measurement; proper scoring rules; subjective probability; motivated beliefs;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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