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Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring

  • Meub, Lukas
  • Proeger, Till
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    Economic small group research points to groups as more rational decision-makers in numerous economic situations. However, no attempts have been made to investigate whether groups are affected similarly by behavioral biases that are pervasive for individuals. If groups were also able to more effectively avoid these biases, the relevance of biases in actual economic contexts dominated by group decision-making might be questioned. We consider the case of anchoring as a prime example of a well-established, robust bias. Individual and group biasedness in three economically relevant domains are compared: factual knowledge, probability estimates and price estimates. In contrast to previous anchoring studies, we find groups to successfully reduce, albeit not eliminate, anchoring in factual knowledge tasks. For the other domains, groups and individuals are equally biased by external anchors. We thus suggest that group cooperation reduces biases prevalent on the individual level for predominantly intellective tasks, yet fails to improve decision-making when judgmental aspects are involved.

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    Paper provided by University of Goettingen, Department of Economics in its series Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers with number 188.

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    Date of creation: 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:188
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Platz der Göttinger Sieben 3, 37073 Göttingen
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