Bribing the Self

33 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2020

See all articles by Uri Gneezy

Uri Gneezy

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Silvia Saccardo

Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Social and Decision Sciences

Marta Serra-Garcia

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Roel van Veldhuizen

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 14, 2020

Abstract

Expert advice is often biased in ways that benefit the advisor. We demonstrate how self-deception helps advisors be biased while preserving their self-image as ethical and identify limits to advisors' ability to self-deceive. In experiments where advisors recommend one of two investments to a client and receive a commission that depends on their recommendation, we vary the timing at which advisors learn about their own incentives. When advisors learn about their incentives before evaluating the available investments, they are more likely to be biased than when they learn about their incentives only after privately evaluating the investments. Consistent with self-deception, learning about the incentive before evaluating the options affects advisors' beliefs and preferences over the investments. Biased advice persists with minimal justifications but is eliminated when all justifications are removed. These findings show how self-deception can be constrained to improve advice provision.

Keywords: Advice, Self-Deception, Self-Image, Motivated Beliefs, Laboratory Experiment

JEL Classification: D03, D83, C91

Suggested Citation

Gneezy, Uri and Saccardo, Silvia and Serra-Garcia, Marta and van Veldhuizen, Roel, Bribing the Self (January 14, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3521972 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3521972

Uri Gneezy

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Silvia Saccardo

Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Social and Decision Sciences ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Marta Serra-Garcia (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Roel Van Veldhuizen

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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