Misperceptions About Others

57 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2021

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 23, 2021

Abstract

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.

JEL Classification: D8,D84

Suggested Citation

Bursztyn, Leonardo and Yang, David Y., Misperceptions About Others (August 23, 2021). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2021-100, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3909951 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3909951

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

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