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Information Avoidance

Russell Golman, David Hagmann and George Loewenstein ()

Journal of Economic Literature, 2017, vol. 55, issue 1, 96-135

Abstract: We commonly think of information as a means to an end. However, a growing theoretical and experimental literature suggests that information may directly enter the agent's utility function. This can create an incentive to avoid information, even when it is useful, free, and independent of strategic considerations. We review research documenting the occurrence of information avoidance, as well as theoretical and empirical research on reasons why people avoid information, drawing from economics, psychology, and other disciplines. The review concludes with a discussion of some of the diverse (and often costly) individual and societal consequences of information avoidance.

JEL-codes: D82 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.20151245
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