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Strategic Self-Ignorance

Thunström, Linda; Nordström, Jonas LU ; Shogren, Jason; Ehmke, Mariah and van 't Veld, Klaas (2013)
Abstract
We examine strategic self-ignorance—the use of ignorance as an excuse to overindulge in pleasurable activities that may be harmful to one’s future self. Our model shows that guilt aversion provides a behavioral rationale for present-biased agents to avoid information about negative future impacts of such activities. We then confront our model with data from an experiment using prepared, restaurant-style meals—a good that is transparent in immediate pleasure (taste) but non-transparent in future harm (calories). Our results support the notion that strategic self-ignorance matters: nearly three of five subjects (58 percent) chose to ignore free information on calorie content, leading at-risk subjects to consume significantly more calories.... (More)
We examine strategic self-ignorance—the use of ignorance as an excuse to overindulge in pleasurable activities that may be harmful to one’s future self. Our model shows that guilt aversion provides a behavioral rationale for present-biased agents to avoid information about negative future impacts of such activities. We then confront our model with data from an experiment using prepared, restaurant-style meals—a good that is transparent in immediate pleasure (taste) but non-transparent in future harm (calories). Our results support the notion that strategic self-ignorance matters: nearly three of five subjects (58 percent) chose to ignore free information on calorie content, leading at-risk subjects to consume significantly more calories. We also find evidence consistent with our model on the determinants of strategic self-ignorance. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
submitted
subject
keywords
Experiment, Ignorance, Food, Harmful activities
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
09196c0f-9485-46c0-b0a8-dca9aeba7087 (old id 4153642)
date added to LUP
2013-11-15 15:09:09
date last changed
2016-10-07 16:49:11
@misc{09196c0f-9485-46c0-b0a8-dca9aeba7087,
  abstract     = {We examine strategic self-ignorance—the use of ignorance as an excuse to overindulge in pleasurable activities that may be harmful to one’s future self. Our model shows that guilt aversion provides a behavioral rationale for present-biased agents to avoid information about negative future impacts of such activities. We then confront our model with data from an experiment using prepared, restaurant-style meals—a good that is transparent in immediate pleasure (taste) but non-transparent in future harm (calories). Our results support the notion that strategic self-ignorance matters: nearly three of five subjects (58 percent) chose to ignore free information on calorie content, leading at-risk subjects to consume significantly more calories. We also find evidence consistent with our model on the determinants of strategic self-ignorance.},
  author       = {Thunström, Linda and Nordström, Jonas and Shogren, Jason and Ehmke, Mariah and van 't Veld, Klaas},
  keyword      = {Experiment,Ignorance,Food,Harmful activities},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Strategic Self-Ignorance},
  year         = {2013},
}