Cultural differences matter for behavioral biases

Behavioral economic research has tended
to ignore the role of cultural differences in economic decision-making.
The authors suggest that a systematic bias affects existing behavioral
economic theory – cognitive biases are often assumed to be universal.
To examine how cultural background informs economic decision-making,
and to test framing effects, morality effects, and out-group effects in
a cross-cultural study, the authors conducted an experiment in the
United States and China. The experiment was designed to test cultural
and cognitive effects on a fundamental economic phenomenon – how people
estimate the financial values of objects over time.

of the experiment demonstrated dramatic cultural differences in
financial value estimations, as well as on the influence of variables
such as framing effects. Chinese participants made higher object value
estimates than Americans did, even when adjusting for differing
national inflation rates. In addition, the results showed that
contextual information, such as framing, morality information, and
group membership affected judgments of financial values in complex
ways, particularly for Chinese participants. The results underscore the
importance of understanding the influence of cultural background on
economic decision-making. The authors discuss the results in the
context of behavioral law and economics, and propose that importing
cultural competence into behavioral models can lead to cognitive
debiasing, both temporary and permanent.

Here is the link to the paper.  Bravo I say.  Have you heard of the phenomenon of "running amok"?  It is not rational in anything but the tautological Misesian sense.  And it happens at much higher rates in nations where it is culturally central, such as Malaysia.  Thanks to for the pointer.


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