Bayesian Reasoning: Evidence from the Field

47 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2016 Last revised: 19 Nov 2016

Constantinos Antoniou

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Christos P. Mavis

University of Surrey - Surrey Business School

Date Written: March 1, 2016

Abstract

We conduct a field test of Bayesian reasoning, examining whether agents form expectations by placing a larger weight on cues that are more informative with lower process variance. To test this notion we analyze subjective probabilities inferred from odds on the outcomes of tennis matches, exploiting exogenous variation in process variance related to the format with which tennis matches are played. Our results are consistent with “process variance neglect”, i.e., agents are not adjusting their ex-ante probabilities sufficiently according to process variance, and thus violate Bayes Rule. This result is robust to inferring subjective probabilities from odds offered by professional bookmakers or odds achieved on a person-to-person betting exchange. The resulting biases in expectations are costly.

Keywords: Bayes Rule, Behavioural Biases, Field Experiments

JEL Classification: D8, G1

Suggested Citation

Antoniou, Constantinos and Mavis, Christos P., Bayesian Reasoning: Evidence from the Field (March 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2757037 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2757037

Constantinos Antoniou (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Christos P. Mavis

University of Surrey - Surrey Business School ( email )

Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1483 68 6572 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.surrey.ac.uk/sbs/people/christos_mavis/

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