By Chance or by Choice? Biased Attribution of Others' Outcomes when Social Preferences Matter

Erkal, Nisvan, Gangadharan, Lata and Koh, Boon Han (2021) By Chance or by Choice? Biased Attribution of Others' Outcomes when Social Preferences Matter. Experimental Economics. ISSN 1386-4157 (In Press)

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Decision makers in positions of power often make unobserved choices under risk and uncertainty. In many cases, they face a trade-o between maximizing their own payoff and those of other individuals. What inferences are made in such instances about their choices when only outcomes are observable? We conduct two experiments that investigate whether outcomes are attributed to luck or choices. Decision makers choose between two investment options, where the more costly option has a higher chance of delivering a good outcome (that is, a higher payoff) for the group. We show that attribution biases exist in the evaluation of good outcomes. On average, good outcomes of decision makers are attributed more to luck as compared to bad outcomes. This asymmetry implies that decision makers get too little credit for their successes. The biases are exhibited by those individuals who make or would make the less prosocial choice for the group as decision makers, suggesting that a consensus effect may be shaping both the belief formation and updating processes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: decision-making under risk,beliefs about others' decisions,attribution biases,social preferences,consensus effect,experiments
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2021 00:30
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2021 00:22
DOI: 10.1007/s10683-021-09731-w

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