Strategic self-ignorance

Linda Thunström, Jonas Nordström, Jason F. Shogren, Mariah Ehmke, Klaas van't Veld

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review

25 Citeringar (SciVal)


We examine strategic self-ignorance—the use of ignorance as an excuse to
over-indulge 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%) 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.
Sidor (från-till)117-136
Antal sidor20
TidskriftJournal of Risk and Uncertainty
StatusPublished - 2016 apr 15

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Nationalekonomi


  • Strategic ignorance
  • Calorie information avoidance
  • Guilt aversion
  • Selfcontrol


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