Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fundamental Attribution Error 2

My words and behaviors may be very "Japanese like". 

The fact that I am a Japanese is true, but if you see me paying in cash, are you really right in saying that it's because I am a "Japanese"? Americans usually pay with credit card. I am not talking about prejudice, but about kind of cognitive bias. Only on the basis of that bias do we usually think. Don't we?


私が日本人であることは事実だが、もし私が現金で支払いをしているところを見て、あなたが、私が日 本人だからそうしているというのは本当に正しいだろうか。アメリカ人は普通クレジットで支払う。偏見の話をしているのではなく、認知的なバイアスの話を しているのだ。我々にはこういったバイアスに基づいて考えてはないないだろうか。 

I found Dr Mankiw talking about this bias:

Why am I smiling? Because it is a sunny day.
Why is he smiling? Because he is a cheerful person.

I wonder if this common error can help explain some unfortunate impulses in economic policy.

Why did I raise my price? Because demand increased more than supply.
Why did the gasoline station raise its price? Because oil companies are greedy price gougers.

Similarly, in judging policymakers, perhaps we give too much credit to those who were simply lucky and too much blame to those who were unlucky

...I have long thought that Bill Clinton gets too much credit for the booming economy of the 1990s, and Jimmy Carter gets too much blame for the lousy economy of the 1970s. Now I have a term for it: the fundamental attribution error.

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