On self-serving strategic beliefs
Nadja R. Ging-Jehli,
Florian Schneider and
Roberto Weber ()
No 315, ECON - Working Papers from Department of Economics - University of Zurich
We experimentally study settings where an individual may have an incentive to adopt negative beliefs about another’s intentions in order to justify egoistic behavior. Our first study uses a game in which a player can take money from an opponent in order to prevent the opponent from subsequently causing harm. We hypothesize that players will justify taking by engaging in “strategic cynicism,” convincing themselves of the opponent’s ill intentions. We elicit incentivized beliefs both from players with such an incentive and from neutral third parties with no incentive to bias their beliefs. We find no difference between the two sets of beliefs, suggesting that people do not negatively bias their beliefs about a strategic opponent even when they have an incentive to do so. This result contrasts with Di Tella, et al. (2015), who argue that they provide evidence of strategic cynicism. We reconcile the discrepancy by using Di Tella, et al.’s, data, a simple model of strategic belief manipulation and a novel experiment in which we replicate Di Tella, et al.’s, experiment and also elicit the beliefs of neutral third parties. Across three experimental datasets, the results provide no evidence of negatively biased beliefs about others’ intentions. However, Di Tella, et al.’s, results and our novel data indicate that those with a greater incentive to view others’ intentions negatively exhibit relatively less positive beliefs than those without such incentives.
Keywords: Motivated beliefs; strategic cynicism; bias; experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 D83 C92 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo and nep-exp
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zur:econwp:315
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in ECON - Working Papers from Department of Economics - University of Zurich Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Marita Kieser ().