How is Information (Under-) Valued? Evidence from Framed Field Experiments
30 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2013
Date Written: February 9, 2013
Rational endogenous information acquisition plays a key role in many economic models. This assumption may be violated, however, if agents are overconfident about their knowledge. In a novel field experiment, businesspeople experts made guesses about the price and quality of actual websites. They then had the opportunity to purchase information to improve their guesses. I find that experts exhibit significant overconfidence and that overconfidence is associated with a lower demand for information. On average, experts significantly underpay for information. However, overconfidence is unlikely to provide a full explanation for suboptimal information investment. Even if the value of information is adjusted to account for subjects’ overconfidence or subjects’ tendency to sometimes misuse information, subjects still underpay for information.
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