Motivated Reasoning

Here, I am endeavoring to gather as many papers as possible on motivated reasoning and motivated memory, primarily focusing on experimental papers within the field of Economics. While aiming to remain focused on these specific topics, determining the precise boundary can sometimes be subtle. Additionally, I am incorporating several papers on related—but broader—topics such as motivated cognition and self-serving beliefs.

At the same time, there is a page devoted to recent papers on belief updating in a broader context, curated by Alice Soldà.

 

Table of Contents

  1. Published Papers in Economics
  2. Several Related Papers in Economics
  3. Working Papers in Economics

Published Papers in Economics

Forthcoming Papers
  • Coffman, K., Collis, M. R., & Kulkarni, L. (forthcoming). Stereotypes and belief updating. Journal of the European Economic Association. [HTML] [MR] [Exp.]

  • Drobner, C., & Goerg, S. J. (forthcoming). Motivated belief updating and rationalization of information. Management Science. [HTML] [PDF] [MR] [Exp.]

2024 papers
  • Bolte, L., & Fan, T. Q. (2024). Motivated mislearning: The case of correlation neglect. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol. 217, pp. 647–663. [HTML] [MR, CorNeg] [Exp.]

  • Burro, G., & Castagnetti, A. (2024). The ego is no fool: Absence of motivated belief formation in strategic interactions. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, vol. 109, pp. 102167. [HTML] [MR] [Exp.] [PDF]

  • Engelmann, J. B., Lebreton, M., Salem-Garcia, N. A., Schwardmann, P., & van der Weele, J. J. (2024). Anticipatory anxiety and wishful thinking. American Economic Review, vol. 114, no. 4, pp. 926–960. [HTML]

  • Exley, C. L., & Kessler, J. B. (forthcoming). Motivated errors. American Economic Review, vol. 114, no. 4, pp. 961–987. [HTML] [MR] [Exp.]

  • Melnikoff, D. E., & Strohminger, N. (2024). Bayesianism and wishful thinking are compatible. Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 8, pp. 692–701. [HTML] [WT] [Exp.]

  • Thaler, M. (2024). Good News Is Not a Sufficient Condition for Motivated Reasoning. American Economic Journal: Microeconomics. vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 1–38. [HTML] [MR]

  • Stötzer, L. S., & Zimmermann, F. (2024). A representative survey experiment of motivated climate change denial. Nature Climate Change, vol. 14, pp. 198–204. [HTML] [MR] [Exp.] [PDF]

2023 papers
  • Amasino, D. R., Pace, D. D., & van der Weele, J. (2023). Self-serving bias in redistribution choices: Accounting for beliefs and norms. Journal of Economic Psychology, vol. 98, pp. 102654. [HTML] [SSB, Status] [Exp.]

  • Amelio, A., & Zimmermann, F. (2023). Motivated memory in economics—a review. Games, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 1–15. [HTML] [MM] [Rev.]

  • Bicchieri, C., Dimant, E., & Sonderegger, S. (2023). It’s not a lie if you believe the norm does not apply: Conditional norm-following and belief distortion. Games and Economic Behavior, vol. 138, pp. 321–354. [HTML] [ESB] [Exp.]

  • Exley, C. L., & Kessler, J. B. (2023). Information avoidance and image concerns. The Economic Journal, vol. 133, no. 656, pp. 3153–3168. [HTML]

  • Le Yaouanq, Y. (2023). A model of voting with motivated beliefs. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol. 213, pp. 394–408. [HTML]

  • Ruzzier, C. A., & Woo, M. D. (2023). Discrimination with inaccurate beliefs and confirmation bias. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol. 210, pp. 379–390. [HTML]

  • Sprengholz, P., Henkel, L., Böhm, R., & Betsch, C. (2023). Historical narratives about the COVID-19 pandemic are motivationally biased. Nature, vol. 623, no. 7987, pp. 588–593. [HTML]

  • Wang, A., Wang, S., & Ye, X. (2023). When information conflicts with obligations: the role of motivated cognition. The Economic Journal, vol. 133, no. 654, pp. 2533–2552. [HTML]

2022 papers
  • Burro, G., & Castagnetti, A. (2022). Will I tell you that you are smart (dumb)? Deceiving Others about their IQ or about a Random Draw. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, vol. 100, pp. 101920. [HTML] [MR, Info] [Exp.]

  • Castagnetti, A., & Schmacker, R. (2022). Protecting the ego: Motivated information selection and updating. European Economic Review, vol. 142, pp. 104007. [HTML]

  • Coffman, K. B., Exley, C. L., & Niederle, M. (2021). The role of beliefs in driving gender discrimination. Management Science, vol. 67, no. 6, pp. 3551–3569. [HTML]

  • Drobner, C. (2022). Motivated beliefs and anticipation of uncertainty resolution. American Economic Review: Insights, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 89–105. [HTML] [MR] [Exp.]

  • Erkal, N., Gangadharan, L., & Koh, B. H. (2022). By chance or by choice? Biased attribution of others’ outcomes when social preferences matter. Experimental Economics, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 413–443. [HTML]

  • Faia, E., Fuster, A., Pezone, V., & Zafar, B. (2022). Biases in information selection and processing: Survey evidence from the pandemic. Review of Economics and Statistics, pp. 1–46. [HTML]

  • Feng, H., Wang, T., Hennessy, D. A., & Arora, G. (2022). Over-perception about land use changes: Assessing empirical evidence and linkage with decisions and motivated beliefs. Land Economics, vol. 98, no. 2, pp. 254–273. [HTML]

  • Gonzalez-Jimenez, V. (2022). Social status and motivated beliefs. Journal of Public Economics, vol. 211, pp. 104662. [HTML]

  • Hagenbach, J., & Koessler, F. (2022). Selective memory of a psychological agent. European Economic Review, vol. 142, pp. 104012. [HTML]

  • Momsen, K., & Ohndorf, M. (2022). Information avoidance, selective exposure, and fake (?) news: Theory and experimental evidence on green consumption. Journal of Economic Psychology, vol. 88, pp. 102457. [HTML]

  • Oprea, R., & Yuksel, S. (2022). Social exchange of motivated beliefs. Journal of the European Economic Association, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 667–699. [HTML] [MR] [Exp.]

2021 papers
  • Barron, K. (2021). Belief updating: does the ‘good-news, bad-news’ asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?. Experimental Economics, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 31–58.

  • Imas, A., Loewenstein, G., & Morewedge, C. K. (2021). Mental money laundering: A motivated violation of fungibility. Journal of the European Economic Association, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 2209-2233. [HTML]

  • Thaler, M. (2021). Gender differences in motivated reasoning. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol. 191, pp. 501–518. [HTML] [MR] [Exp.]

  • von Grundherr, M., Jauernig, J., & Uhl, M. (2021). To Condemn Is Not to Punish: An Experiment on Hypocrisy. Games, vol. 12, no. 38, pp. 1–13. [HTML]

2020 papers
  • Chew, S. H., Huang, W., & Zhao, X. (2020). Motivated false memory. Journal of Political Economy, vol. 128, no. 10, pp. 3913–3939. [HTML] [MM] [Exp.]

  • Exley, C. L. (2020). Using charity performance metrics as an excuse not to give. Management Science, vol. 66, no. 2, pp. 553–563. [HTML] [ESB] [Exp.]

  • Ging-Jehli, N. R., Schneider, F. H., & Weber, R. A. (2020). On self-serving strategic beliefs. Games and Economic Behavior, vol. 122, pp. 341–353. [HTML]

  • Gneezy, U., Saccardo, S., Serra-Garcia, M., & van Veldhuizen, R. (2020). Bribing the self. Games and Economic Behavior, vol. 120, pp. 311–324. [HTML]

  • Molnar, A., & Loewenstein, G. (2022). Chapter 15: Thoughts and Players: An Introduction to Old and New Economic Perspectives on Beliefs (pp. 321–350). In Musolino, J., Sommer, J., & Hemmer, P. (Eds.) The Cognitive Science of Belief: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Cambridge University Press. [HTML] [BU, MR] [Rev.]  

  • Solda, A., Ke, C., Page, L., & Von Hippel, W. (2020). Strategically delusional. Experimental Economics, vol. 23, pp. 604–631. [HTML]

  • Stone, D. F. (2020). Just a big misunderstanding? Bias and Bayesian affective polarization. International Economic Review, vol. 61, no. 1, 189–217. [HTML]

  • Zimmermann, F. (2020). The dynamics of motivated beliefs. American Economic Review, vol. 110, no. 2, pp. 337–363. [HTML] [PDF] [MR] [Exp.]

2019 papers
  • Benjamin, D. J. (2019). Chapter 2: Errors in probabilistic reasoning and judgment biases (pp. 69–186). In Bernheim, B. D., DellaVigna, S., & Laibso, D. (Eds.) Handbook of Behavioral Economics: Applications and Foundations 2. North-Holland. [HTML] [PDF] [BU] [Rev.]

  • Coutts, A. (2019). Good news and bad news are still news: Experimental evidence on belief updating. Experimental Economics, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 369–395. [HTML] [PDF] [MR] [Exp.]

  • Druckman, J. N., & McGrath, M. C. (2019). The evidence for motivated reasoning in climate change preference formation. Nature Climate Change, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 111–119. [HTML]

  • Saucet, C., & Villeval, M. C. (2019). Motivated memory in dictator games. Games and Economic Behavior, vol. 117, pp. 250–275. [HTML]

  • Schwardmann, P., & Van der Weele, J. (2019). Deception and self-deception. Nature Human Behaviour, vol. 3, no. 10, pp. 1055–1061. [HTML] [MR] [Exp.] [PDF]

  • Stone, D. F. (2019). “Unmotivated bias” and partisan hostility: Empirical evidence. Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, vol. 79, pp. 12–26. [HTML] [PDF]

2018 papers
  • TBA
2017 papers
  • Charness, G., & Dave, C. (2017). Confirmation bias with motivated beliefs. Games and Economic Behavior, vol. 104, pp. 1–23. [HTML]
2016 papers
  • Bénabou, R., & Tirole, J. (2016). Mindful economics: The production, consumption, and value of beliefs. Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 30. no. 3, pp. 141–164. [HTML] [MR] [Rev.]

  • Gino, F., Norton, M. I., & Weber, R. A. (2016). Motivated Bayesians: Feeling moral while acting egoistically. Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 30. no. 3, pp. 189–212. [HTML] [MR] [Rev.]

  • Golman, R., Loewenstein, G., Moene, K. O., & Zarri, L. (2016). The preference for belief consonance. Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 30. no. 3, pp. 165–188. [HTML] [MR] [Rev.]

  • Epley, N., & Gilovich, T. (2016). The mechanics of motivated reasoning. Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 133–140. [HTML] [MR] [Rev.]

  • Exley, C. L. (2016). Excusing selfishness in charitable giving: The role of risk. Review of Economic Studies, vol. 83, no. 2, pp. 587–628. [HTML] [ESB] [Exp.]

2015 papers
  • Bénabou, R. (2015). The economics of motivated beliefs. Revue d’économie politique, vol. 5, pp. 665–685. [HTML] [MR] [Th. & Rev.]

 

Forthcoming papers
  • Haaland, I., König, J., Roth, C., & Wohlfart, J. (Forthcoming). Information experiments. In Encyclopedia of Experimental Social Science. [HTML] [Info] [Rev.]
2023 papers
  • Haaland, I., Roth, C., & Wohlfart, J. (2023). Designing information provision experiments. Journal of Economic Literature, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 3–40. [HTML] [PDF] [Info, B, BU] [Rev.]

  • Maćkowiak, B., Matějka, F., & Wiederholt, M. (2023). Rational inattention: A review. Journal of Economic Literature, vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 226–273. [HTML] [Info, RatInAt] [Rev.]

2022 papers
  • Battigalli, P., & Dufwenberg, M. (2022). Belief-dependent motivations and psychological game theory. Journal of Economic Literature, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 833-882. [HTML] [BD, PsGmTh] [Rev.]

  • Bursztyn, L., & Yang, D. Y. (2022). Misperceptions about others. Annual Review of Economics, vol. 14, pp. 425–452. [HTML] [Info, B] [Rev.]

2019 papers
  • Kamenica, E. (2019). Bayesian persuasion and information design. Annual Review of Economics, vol. 11, pp. 249–272.[HTML] [PDF] [BP] [Rev.]
2017 papers
  • Golman, R., Hagmann, D., & Loewenstein, G. (2017). Information avoidance. Journal of Economic Literature, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 96–135. [HTML] [PDF] [Info] [Rev.]

 

Working Papers in Economics

2024 papers
  • Balietti, A., Budjan, A. J., Eymess, T., & Soldà, A. (2024). Strategic Ignorance and perceived control. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Burgh, J., & Melo, E. (2024). Censored beliefs and wishful thinking. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Gonzalez-Fernandez, P. (2024). Belief Bias Identification. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Hagenbach, J., & Saucet, C. (2024). Motivated Skepticism. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Thaler, M. (2024). Good News Is Not a Sufficient Condition for Motivated Reasoning. Working Paper. [HTML]

2023 papers
  • Augenblick, N., Lazarus, E., & Thaler, M. (2023). Overinference from weak signals and underinference from strong signals. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Battigalli, P., & Generoso, N. (2023). Information flows and memory in games. SSRN Working Paper, no. 4435785. [HTML]

  • Cassella, S., Golez, B., Gulen, H., & Kelly, P. (2023). Motivated beliefs in macroeconomic expectations. SSRN Working Paper, no. 3759035. [HTML]

  • Cordes, C., Friedrichsen, J., & Schudy, S. (2023). Motivated Procrastination (No. 471). Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Gangadharan, L., Grossman, P. J., & Xue, N. (2023). Are three heads more biased than one? The role of communication in group belief updating. Experimental evidence on the role of beliefs in prosocial behaviour. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Harrison, G. W., & Swarthout, J. T. (2020). Belief distributions, Bayes rule and Bayesian overconfidence. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Hagenbach, J., Kranton, R., & Lee, V. (2023). Competition, Cooperation, and Motivated Social Perceptions. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Kapons, M. M., & Kelly, P. (2023). Biased inference due to prior beliefs: Evidence from the field. SSRN Working Paper, no. 4209631. [HTML]

  • Lobeck, M. (2023). Motivating beliefs in a just world. SSRN Working Paper, no. 4369242. [HTML]

  • Sial, A. Y., Sydnor, J. R., & Taubinsky, D. (2023). Biased Memory and Perceptions of Self-Control. NBER Working Paper, no. w30825. [HTML]

  • Stötzer, L. S., & Zimmermann, F. (2023). A Note on Motivated Cognition and Discriminatory Beliefs. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Thaler, M. (2023). The Supply of Motivated Beliefs. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Wittrock, L., Strobel, M., & Tsakas, E. (2023). Belief updating with misinformation. Working Paper. [HTML]

2022 papers
  • Eyting, M. (2022). Why do we discriminate? The role of motivated reasoning. SSRN Working Paper, no. 4210315. [HTML]

  • Fudenberg, D., Lanzani, G., & Strack, P. (2022). Selective memory equilibrium. SSRN Working Paper, no. 4015313. [HTML]

  • Heese, C., & Chen, S. (2022). Fishing for Good News: Motivated Information Acquisition. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Momsen, K., & Schneider, S. O. (2022). Motivated reasoning, information avoidance, and default bias. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Riehm, T. (2022). Motivated beliefs in auctions. Working Paper. [HTML]

2021 papers
  • Bosch-Rosa, C., Gietl, D., & Heinemann, F. (2021). Risk-taking under limited liability: Quantifying the role of motivated beliefs. SSRN Working Paper, no. 3985775. [HTML]

  • Erkal, N., Gangadharan, L., & Koh, B. H. (2021). Gender biases in performance evaluation: The role of beliefs versus outcomes. SSRN Working Paper, no. 3979701. [HTML]

  • Islam, M. (2021). Motivated Risk Assessments. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Orhun, A. Y., Cohn, A., & Raymond, C. (2021). Motivated optimism and workplace risk. SSRN Working Paper, no. 3966686. [HTML]

2020 papers
  • Villeval, M. C. (2020). Performance feedback and peer effects: A review. SSRN Working Paper, no. 3543371. [HTML] [MR] [Rev.]
2019 papers
  • Engelmann, J., Lebreton, M., Schwardmann, P., van der Weele, J. J., & Chang, L. A. (2019). Anticipatory anxiety and wishful thinking. Working Paper. [HTML] [WT] [Exp.]
2018 papers
  • Hagmann, D., & Loewenstein, G. (2018). Persuasion with motivated beliefs. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Wang, A., Wang, S., & Ye, X. (2018). Religion and motivated cognition: when Ramadan meets the college entrance exam. Working Paper. [HTML]

  • Zou, W., & Qin, H. (2018). Motivated belief updating of norms. SSRN Working Paper, no. 3288321. [HTML]