Motivated Errors

96 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2017 Last revised: 10 Dec 2019

See all articles by Christine Exley

Christine Exley

Harvard Business School

Judd B. Kessler

University of Pennsylvania - Business & Public Policy Department

Date Written: December 8, 2019

Abstract

In three sets of experiments involving over 4,200 subjects, we show that agents motivated to be selfish make systematic decision errors of the kind generally attributed to cognitive limitations or behavioral biases. We show that that these decision errors are eliminated (or dramatically reduced) when self-serving motives are removed. We say that individuals make "motivated errors." They make decision errors, but only when it is self-serving to do so.

Suggested Citation

Exley, Christine and Kessler, Judd B., Motivated Errors (December 8, 2019). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 18-017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3029231 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3029231

Christine Exley (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Judd B. Kessler

University of Pennsylvania - Business & Public Policy Department ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6372
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://bepp.wharton.upenn.edu/profile/1671/

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