Econometrica: Sep 2011, Volume 79, Issue 5

Apparent Overconfidence
p. 1591-1625

Jean‐Pierre Benoît, Juan Dubra

It is common for a majority of people to rank themselves as better than average on simple tasks and worse than average on difficult tasks. The literature takes for granted that this apparent misconfidence is problematic. We argue, however, that this behavior is consistent with purely rational Bayesian updaters. In fact, better‐than‐average data alone cannot be used to show overconfidence; we indicate which type of data can be used. Our theory is consistent with empirical patterns found in the literature.

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