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On the Evolution of Overconfidence and Entrepreneurs

  • Antonio Bernardo
  • Ivo Welch

This paper explains why seemingly irrational overconfident behavior can persist. Information aggregation is poor in groups in which most individuals herd. By ignoring the herd, the actions of overconfident individuals ("entrepreneurs") convey their private information. However, entrepreneurs make mistakes and thus die more frequently. The socially optimal proportion of entrepreneurs trades off the positive information externality against high attrition rates of entrepreneurs, and depends on the size of the group, on the degree of overconfidence, and on the accuracy of individuals' private information. The stationary distribution trades off the fitness of the group against the fitness of overconfident individuals.

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Paper provided by Yale School of Management in its series Yale School of Management Working Papers with number ysm211.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2001
Date of revision: 01 Nov 2003
Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:ysm211
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  1. Hirshleifer, David & Luo, Guo Ying, 2000. "On the Survival of Overconfident Traders in a Competitive Securities Market," MPRA Paper 15347, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  10. Eshel, I. & Samuelson, L. & Shaked, A., 1996. "Altruists, Egoists and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," Working papers 9612r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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  17. Anderson, Lisa R & Holt, Charles A, 1997. "Information Cascades in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 847-62, December.
  18. Busenitz, Lowell W. & Barney, Jay B., 1997. "Differences between entrepreneurs and managers in large organizations: Biases and heuristics in strategic decision-making," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 9-30, January.
  19. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  20. KENT D. DANIEL & David Hirshleifer & AVANIDHAR SUBRAHMANYAM, 2004. "A Theory of Overconfidence, Self-Attribution, and Security Market Under- and Over-reactions," Finance 0412006, EconWPA.
  21. Waldman, Michael, 1994. "Systematic Errors and the Theory of Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 482-97, June.
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  24. Eshel, Ilan & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 1998. "Altruists, Egoists, and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 157-79, March.
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