Is there a "pessimistic" bias in individual beliefs? Evidence from a simple survey

  • Ben Mansour S
  • Jouini E
  • Napp C
  • 21


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 12


    Citations of this article.


It is an important issue for economic and finance applications to determine whether individuals exhibit a behavioral bias towards pessimism in their beliefs, in a lottery or more generally in an investment opportunities framework. In this paper, we analyze the answers of a sample of 1,540 individuals to the following question Imagine that a coin will be flipped 10 times. Each time, if heads, you win 10€. How many times do you think that you will win? The average answer is surprisingly about 3.9 which is below the average 5, and we interpret this as a pessimistic bias. We find that women are more pessimistic than men, as are old people relative to young. We also analyze how our notion of pessimism is related to more general notions of pessimism previously introduced in psychology.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Judged probability
  • Lottery
  • Pessimism

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Selima Ben Mansour

  • Elyès Jouini

  • Clotilde Napp

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free