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UiS Business School Seminar: How Does Choice Affect Beliefs?

Wednesday 28 September 2022 12:15-13:15,
Elise Ottesen-Jensens Hus, Zoom,
EOJ 276/277.

Economics and Finance

Publisert: Endret:
Gergely Hajdu

Speaker: Gergely Hajdu from Vienna University of Economics and Business

Title: How Does Choice Affect Beliefs?

Gergely Hajdu
Gergely Hajdu
Time and Date

Date: 28.09.22

Time: 13:15-14:15

Location: Elise Ottesen-Jensens Hus and Zoom

Room: EOJ 276/277

People tend to think more favourably about a product when they own it compared to when they do not own it. Going beyond the effect of ownership, we study how choosing a product affects beliefs about the values of products in the choice set. In the laboratory, participants either select a product from a binary choice set or have one of the two products randomly assigned to them. To deal with the endogeneity in options, we construct information that is both sufficiently clear to make choices predictable and unclear enough to leave room for belief distortions. We find that making a choice increases the difference in beliefs between the two alternatives, and the effect is driven by pessimism: when a product is non-chosen, it is believed to be worse than when the same product is not assigned. When participants choose a product, but we shift their attention toward product evaluation, pessimism disappears, suggesting attention is an important driver. Since choices are often made under uncertainty, the effect we identify may play a role in a potentially wide range of settings. Our findings also have policy implications: active choice policies may be more effective than opt-out defaults.

Link to paper.

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