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Working papers

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Working papers


Strategically delusional

Alice Soldà, Changxia Ke, Lionel Page, William von Hippel, Working paper GATE 2019-08
We aim to test the hypothesis that overconfidence arises as a strategy to influence others in social interactions. We design an experiment in which participants are incentivised either to form accurate beliefs about their performance at a test, or to convince a group of other participants that they performed well. We also vary participants’ ability to gather information about their performance. Our results provide, the different empirical links of von Hippel and Trivers’ (2011) theory of strategic overconfidence. First, we find that participants are more likely to overestimate their performance when they anticipate that they will try to persuade others. Second, when offered the possibility to gather information about their performance, they bias their information search in a manner conducive to receiving more positive feedback. Third, the increase in confidence generated by this motivated reasoning has a positive effect on their persuasiveness.

Promoting socially desirable behaviors : experimental comparison of the procedures of persuasion and commitment

Cécile Bazart, Mathieu Lefebvre, Julie Rosaz, Working paper GATE 2019-07
In a series of experiments, we test the relative efficiency of persuasion and commitment schemes to increase and sustain contribution levels in a Voluntary Contribution Game. The design allows to compare a baseline consisting of a repeated public good game to, respectively, four manipulation treatments relying on : an information strategy, a low commitment strategy, a high commitment strategy and a promise strategy. We confirm the advantages of psychologically orientated policies as they increase the overall level of contribution and for some, that is commitment and promises, question the decreasing trend traditionally observed in long term contributions to public goods.