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Beliefs and Utility: Experimental Evidence on Preferences for Information

Armin Falk () and Florian Zimmermann ()
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Florian Zimmermann: University of Zurich

No 10172, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract: Beliefs are a central determinant of behavior. Recent models assume that beliefs about or the anticipation of future consumption have direct utility-consequences. This gives rise to informational preferences, i.e., preferences over the timing and structure of information. Using a novel and purposefully simple set-up, we experimentally analyze preferences for information along four dimensions. We find evidence that the majority of subjects prefers receiving information sooner. This preference, however, is not uniform but depends on context. When the environment allows subjects to not focus attention on (negative) consumption events, later information becomes more attractive. We also identify an aversion towards piecemeal information. Variations in prior distributions do not seem to affect information preferences.

Keywords: beliefs; anticipatory utility; news utility; information preferences; attention; reference-dependent preferences; experiments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 D12 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-upt
Date: 2016-08
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