Biased beliefs and imperfect information

Proto, E. and Sgroi, D. (2017) Biased beliefs and imperfect information. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 136, pp. 186-202. (doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2017.01.020)

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Abstract

We perform an experiment designed to assess the accuracy of beliefs about characteristics and decisions. Subjects are asked to declare beliefs typically formed through real world experiences. They are then asked to report beliefs concerning other individuals from the same environment. We test two main hypotheses: (i) whether for items not perfectly observable, individuals suffer from some type of biased beliefs; (ii) whether this bias is reduced when information is more readily available. We find a powerful and ubiquitous bias in perceptions that is “self-centered” in the sense that those at extremes tend to perceive themselves as closer to the middle of the distribution than is the case. This bias does not completely disappear when the information is more readily available. We present evidence from our experiment that limited attention and self-serving deception can provide explanations for this bias and present important economic applications.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Proto, Professor Eugenio
Authors: Proto, E., and Sgroi, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
Journal Name:Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0167-2681
Published Online:20 February 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
First Published:First published in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 136:186-202
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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