Biases in Perceptions, Beliefs and Behavior

26 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2004

See all articles by Isabelle Brocas

Isabelle Brocas

University of Southern California - Department of Economics

Juan D. Carrillo

University of Southern California - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: August 2004

Abstract

This paper presents a model where individuals have imperfect information about their preferences (or the environment) and there is an opportunity cost of learning. It shows that the endogenous decision to collect information before taking an action creates a systematic bias in the aggregate behavior of a population of rational, profit-maximizing agents. More precisely, individuals will favor actions with large payoff-variance, i.e., those which may potentially generate the highest benefits even if they may also generate the biggest losses. The paper thus concludes that systematically biased choices do not necessarily imply that agents have irrational, systematically biased beliefs. It also provides testable implications about the propensity of individuals to incur different types of errors. Some applications such as biases in judicial decision-making and career choices are discussed.

Suggested Citation

Brocas, Isabelle and Carrillo, Juan D., Biases in Perceptions, Beliefs and Behavior (August 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=587985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.587985

Isabelle Brocas (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3022 S. Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-8842 (Phone)
213-740-8543 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~brocas/

Juan D. Carrillo

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3022 S. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-740-3526 (Phone)
213-740-8543 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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