Measuring Responsiveness to Feedback as a Personal Trait

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 16-043/I

29 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2016

See all articles by Thomas Buser

Thomas Buser

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE)

Leonie Gerhards

University of Hamburg - Department of Economics

Joel J. van der Weele

University of Amsterdam - Center for Experimental Economics and political Decision making (CREED); Tinbergen Institute; Center for Financial Studies (CFS)

Date Written: June 2, 2016

Abstract

People typically update their beliefs about their own abilities too little in response to feed- back, a phenomenon known as “conservatism”, and some studies suggest that they overweight good relative to bad signals (“asymmetry”). We measure individual conservatism and asymmetry in three tasks that test different cognitive skills, and study entry into a winner-takes-all competition based on similar skills. We show that individual differences in feedback responsiveness explain an important part of the variation in confidence and competition entry decisions. Conservatism is correlated across tasks and predicts competition entry both by influencing beliefs and independently of beliefs, suggesting it can be considered a personal trait. Subjects tend to be more conservative in tasks that they see as more ego-relevant and women are more conservative than men. Asymmetry is less stable across tasks, but predicts competition entry by increasing self-confidence.

Keywords: Bayesian updating, feedback, confidence, identity, competitive behavior

JEL Classification: C91, C93, D83

Suggested Citation

Buser, Thomas and Gerhards, Leonie and van der Weele, Joel J., Measuring Responsiveness to Feedback as a Personal Trait (June 2, 2016). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 16-043/I. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2789407 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2789407

Thomas Buser (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, North Holland 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/thomasbuser/

Leonie Gerhards

University of Hamburg - Department of Economics ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 5
room 2060
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

Joel J. Van der Weele

University of Amsterdam - Center for Experimental Economics and political Decision making (CREED) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/joelvdweele/

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Center for Financial Studies (CFS) ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

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