Work in Progress

Errors, Noise, & Partisan Difference In Voter Beliefs: Evidence and Implications (with Saurabh Bhargava)

We document a substantial degree of error, imprecision and partisan difference in beliefs about three recent major policy events in the United States. Using contemporaneous surveys of American voters during the Trump tax cuts, Biden stimulus, and the 2020 presidential election, we show that voters systematically misunderstand the effects of these major policy events on their personal welfare. We also show that the effect of partisanship is small relative to the average error in beliefs across the sample. We simulate a Bayesian spatial model in which voters receive noisy signals about candidate policies and show that noisier signals lead to less candidate convergence to the median voter. 

Working paper, updated 9/1/23

The Sorting Property of Changes in Event Memory (with George Loewenstein)

We investigate whether, like many dimensions of memory, the dimensions of memories for events exhibit power-law decay. Event memories as a category include personal experiences, but also fictional events and imagined experiences. We show that decay in the dimensions of event memory is non-constant and discuss an important property of non-constant decay: that short intervals produce memory representations much more similar to long-run memory representations than to immediate memory representations. We call this phenomenon "sorting" and discuss implications for decision making.

Working paper, updated 2/9/23

Beliefs about Skill Decay (with Sami Horn & George Loewenstein)

We train people in one of three novel tasks and ask them to make predictions about how they will perform in the future. We find overconfidence in general, and mistaken beliefs about the time course of skill decay. We discuss implications for decisions about breaks from work, including parental and medical leave.

Argument Visualization Improves Comprehension & Persuasive Effects of Economic Arguments (with Danny Oppenheimer & Simon Cullen)

We show via a series of online experiments that argument visualization (a novel diagramming technique from philosophy) improves people's comprehension of explanations of economic policies. It also improves participants' comprehension or arguments for and against those policies and changes evaluations of the intelligence of these arguments. We are currently investigating the effects of argument visualization on argument persuasiveness.