Misperceptions About Others

56 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2021 Last revised: 13 May 2022

See all articles by Leonardo Bursztyn

Leonardo Bursztyn

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

David Y. Yang

Harvard University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2021


People’s perceptions about others play an important role in shaping their own attitudes and behaviors, as well as social norms more broadly. This review presents a meta-analysis of the recent empirical literature that examines perceptions about others in the field. We document a number of stylized facts. Misperceptions about others are widespread, asymmetric, much larger when about out-group members, and positively associated with one’s own attitudes. Experimental treatments to re-calibrate misperceptions generally work as intended; they sometimes lead to meaningful changes in behaviors, though this often occurs only immediately after the treatments. We discuss different conceptual frameworks that could explain the origin, persistence, and rigidity of misperceptions about others. We point to several directions for future research.

Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.

Suggested Citation

Bursztyn, Leonardo and Yang, David Y., Misperceptions About Others (August 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w29168, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3909599

Leonardo Bursztyn (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 E. 59th St
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

David Y. Yang

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics