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Applied Micro Workshop – Si Chen, “Motivated Information Acquisition in Social Decisions”

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Si Chen and Carl Heese: “Motivated Information Acquisition in Social Decisions” Individuals can often inquire about how their decisions would affect others. When do they stop the inquiry if they prefer one of their options for selfish reasons? We present causal evidence that having a selfishly preferred option makes individuals more likely to continue the inquiry when the dominant information received up to that point suggests that behaving selfishly harms others. In contrast, when the dominant information up to that point suggests that being selfish harms nobody, individuals become more likely to stop acquiring information. Drawing on the Bayesian persuasion model of Kamenica and Gentzkow (2011), we propose a theoretical model showing that this information acquisition strategy can be optimal for a Bayesian agent who values the belief of herself doing no harm on others but attempts to persuade herself to behave self-interestedly. The model predicts that strategic information acquisition motivated by self-interest can reduce the decisions’ resulting negative externalities and improve the welfare of the affected others. This is indeed found to be the case in our laboratory experiment.

Event details
  • Presentation
When Dec 10, 2019
from 16:00 to 17:30
Where briq, Seminar Room 9/1.1, Schaumburg-Lippe-Straße 9
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