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Beliefs as a means of self-control? Evidence from a dynamic student survey

Tobias König, Schweighofer-Kodritsch, Sebastian and Georg Weizsäcker

No SP II 2019-204, Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior from WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Abstract: We repeatedly elicit beliefs about the returns to study effort in a panel survey of students of a large university course. A behavioral model of quasi-hyperbolic discounting and malleable beliefs yields the prediction that the dynamics of return beliefs mirrors the importance of exerting self-control, such that return expectations first increase as the exam approaches, and then sharply drop post-exam. Exploiting variation in exam timing to control for common information shocks, we find this prediction confirmed: average subjective expectations of returns increase by about 20% over the period before the exam, and drop by about the same amount afterwards.

Keywords: Panel Survey; Expectations; Self-Control (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C83 D84 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: Beliefs as a Means of Self-Control? Evidence from a Dynamic Student Survey (2018) Downloads
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