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Belief Updating: Does the \'Good-News, Bad-News\' Asymmetry Extend to Purely Financial Domains?

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  • Barron, Kai

    (WZB Berlin)

Abstract

Bayes\' statistical rule remains the status quo for modeling belief updating in both normative and descriptive models of behavior under uncertainty. Some 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 is present in a financial decision making context (i.e. a domain that is important for understanding much economic decision making). We find no evidence of asymmetric updating in this domain. In contrast, in our experiment, belief updating is close to the Bayesian benchmark on average. However, we show that this average behavior masks substantial heterogeneity in individual updating. We find no evidence in support of a sizeable subgroup of asymmetric updators.

Suggested Citation

  • Barron, Kai, 2019. "Belief Updating: Does the \'Good-News, Bad-News\' Asymmetry Extend to Purely Financial Domains?," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 170, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
  • Handle: RePEc:rco:dpaper:170
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    3. Bui, Dzung & Dräger, Lena & Hayo, Bernd & Nghiem, Giang, 2020. "Consumer Sentiment During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Others‘ Beliefs," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-680, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät, revised Apr 2021.
    4. Daniel J. Benjamin, 2018. "Errors in Probabilistic Reasoning and Judgment Biases," GRU Working Paper Series GRU_2018_023, City University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics and Finance, Global Research Unit.
    5. 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.
    6. Takanori Ida & Ryo Okui, 2019. "Can information alleviate overconfidence? A randomized experiment on financial market predictions," Working Paper Series no126, Institute of Economic Research, Seoul National University.
    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. 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.
    9. Joshua E. Blumenstock & Matthew Olckers, 2020. "Gamblers Learn from Experience," Papers 2011.00432, arXiv.org, revised Aug 2021.
    10. Kai Barron, 2021. "Belief updating: does the ‘good-news, bad-news’ asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(1), pages 31-58, March.
    11. Yves Le Yaouanq & Peter Schwardmann, 2019. "Learning about One's Self," CESifo Working Paper Series 7455, CESifo.
    12. 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.
    13. Michael Thaler, 2020. "The Fake News Effect: Experimentally Identifying Motivated Reasoning Using Trust in News," Papers 2012.01663, arXiv.org, revised Jul 2021.
    14. Shimon Kogan & Florian H. Schneider & Roberto A. Weber, 2021. "Self-serving biases in beliefs about collective outcomes," ECON - Working Papers 379, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    15. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic experiments; bayes' rule; belief updating; belief measurement; proper scoring rules; motivated beliefs;
    All these keywords.

    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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