SBEE Seminar Series: Christine Exley

Mon, 09/30/2019 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Ehrlicher Room, 3100 North Quad

The Social, Behavioral and Experimental Economics lecture series is sponsored by the School of Information, the Ross School of Business and the Department of Economics. Speakers from U.S. and international universities present their research at weekly seminars during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Note: SBEE Seminars take place from 11:45 am to 12:45 pm.

Motivated Errors


In three sets of experiments involving over 3300 individuals, we show that agents motivated to be selfish or to hold egoistic beliefs make systematic errors that appear to be driven by cognitive limitations. We further show that that these errors are eliminated (or dramatically reduced) when self-serving motives are removed. Put differently, we find that individuals make “motivated errors” — they act as if they are cognitively limited, but only when it is self-serving to do so.

Speaker Bio

After earning her Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University, Dr. Exley joined Harvard Business School as an assistant professor in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit. 

The broad motivation for Dr. Exley's work is to better understand inequity and how to close inequities in our society.  In her first research strand, she focuses on how to encourage more charitable giving in order to reallocate resources to those in need, most notably, by investigating how individuals exploit excuses not to give. In her second research strand, she focuses on the drivers of gender gaps in the labor market, such as those that relate to negotiation, discrimination, and confidence.  She also studies the drivers of (in)equity concerns more broadly.