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Rational truth-avoidance and self-esteem

David Andolfatto (), Steeve Mongrain () and Gordon Myers

Canadian Journal of Economics, 2009, vol. 42, issue 1, 141-154

Abstract: We assume that people have beliefs about their abilities that generate self-esteem, and that self-esteem is valued intrinsically. Individuals face two choices; one of which strictly dominates the other in a pecuniary sense, but necessarily involves gathering information concerning their ability. We lay out the circumstances under which an individual may find it rational to reject the dominant choice, an act that, in psychology is described as "avoiding the situation". We then go on to show that the incentive to avoid the truth is increasing in income/wealth and decreasing in self-esteem, the perceived accuracy of one's self-assessment, and the role that luck plays in generating opportunities.

JEL-codes: D1 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Journal Article: Rational truth‐avoidance and self‐esteem (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Rational Truth-Avoidance and Self-Esteem (2007) Downloads
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