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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. Jawwad Noor, 2006. "Menu-Dependent Self-Control," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-021, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Rabin, Matthew, 1994. "Cognitive dissonance and social change," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-194, March.
  3. Jawwad Noor, 2005. "Temptation, Welfare and Revealed Preference," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-15, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2009. "Temptation-Driven Preferences," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 937-971.
  7. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
  8. Larry G. Epstein & Massimo Marinacci & Seo Kyoungwon, 2006. "Coarse Contingencies," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 4, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2007.
  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. 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.
  11. Haagsma, Rein & Koning, Niek, 2002. "Endogenous mobility-reducing norms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 523-547, December.
  12. 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.
  13. Machina, Mark J., 1984. "Temporal risk and the nature of induced preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 199-231, August.
  14. Robert J. Oxoby, 2004. "Cognitive dissonance, status and growth of the underclass," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 727-749, October.
  15. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-87, May.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Haluk Ergin & Todd Sarver, 2010. "A Unique Costly Contemplation Representation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1285-1339, 07.
  20. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
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