Overconfidence and Entry Into Competitions: Reconciling Discrepant Results

Daylian M. Cain, Yale University, USA
Don Moore, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Keith Chen, Yale University, USA
In this paper, we attempt to reconcile two discrepant findings: (1) people typically think they are better than average at most things they do and (2) recent laboratory studies find underconfidence on many tasks, especially difficult ones. Our reconciliation focuses on self-selection and argues that people naturally choose tasks on which they believe they are better than others. If we focus on tasks people have chosen, we observe that, on average, people think they are better than average.
[ to cite ]:
Daylian M. Cain, Don Moore, and Keith Chen (2010) ,"Overconfidence and Entry Into Competitions: Reconciling Discrepant Results", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 20-23 .