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Cognitive Dissonance and Choice

People like to feel good about past decisions. This paper models self- justification of past decisions. The model is axiomatic: axioms are defined on preference over ex ante actions (modeled formally by menus) The representation of preference admits the interpretation that the agent adjusts beliefs after taking an action so as to be more optimistic about its possible consequences. In particular, the ex post choice of beliefs is part of the representation of preference and not a primitive assumption. Behavioral characterizations are given to the comparisons "1 exhibits more dissonance than 2" and "1 is more self-justifying than 2."

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File URL: http://rcer.econ.rochester.edu/RCERPAPERS/rcer_525.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER) in its series RCER Working Papers with number 525.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:roc:rocher:525
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Rochester, Center for Economic Research, Department of Economics, Harkness 231 Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.

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  1. Larry Epstein & Massimo Marinacci, 2005. "Coarse Contingencies," RCER Working Papers 515, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Chew, Soo Hong, 1983. "A Generalization of the Quasilinear Mean with Applications to the Measurement of Income Inequality and Decision Theory Resolving the Allais Paradox," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1065-92, July.
  3. Eddie Dekel & Barton Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2006. "Temptation–Driven Preferences," Discussion Papers 1423, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Rabin, Mathew, 1991. "Cognitive Dissonance and Social Change," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt37b169jt, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Haluk Ergin & Todd Sarver, 2010. "A Unique Costly Contemplation Representation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1285-1339, 07.
  6. Jawwad Noor, 2005. "Temptation, Welfare and Revealed Preference," Microeconomics 0509009, EconWPA.
  7. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
  8. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-87, May.
  9. Kopylov Igor, 2009. "Temptations in General Settings," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-25, September.
  10. Haagsma, Rein & Koning, Niek, 2002. "Endogenous mobility-reducing norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 523-547, December.
  11. Goetzmann, William N & Peles, Nadav, 1997. "Cognitive Dissonance and Mutual Fund Investors," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 20(2), pages 145-58, Summer.
  12. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  13. Jawwad Noor, 2006. "Menu-Dependent Self-Control," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-021, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  14. Machina, Mark J., 1984. "Temporal risk and the nature of induced preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 199-231, August.
  15. Smith, John, 2009. "Cognitive dissonance and the overtaking anomaly: Psychology in the principal-agent relationship," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 684-690, August.
  16. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  17. Joel L. Schrag, 1999. "First Impressions Matter: A Model Of Confirmatory Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 37-82, February.
  18. Eddie Dekel, 1997. "A Unique Subjective State Space for Unforeseen Contingencies," Discussion Papers 1202, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  19. Dickens, William T., 1986. "Crime and punishment again: The economic approach with a psychological twist," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 97-107, June.
  20. Robert J. Oxoby, 2004. "Cognitive dissonance, status and growth of the underclass," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 727-749, October.
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