Peter Loewen on the sunk cost fallacy and decision-making in the Republican Congress
January 12, 2018
SPPG Director Peter Loewen wrote for the Washington Post about his research on the sunk cost fallacy and its effect on politicians’ decision-making.
The article, based on a paper published in the American Political Science Review last month, describes the susceptibility of politicians to the sunk cost fallacy.
“We find that politicians show a significantly stronger pull toward the sunk-cost fallacy than do ordinary citizens. … We also find that politicians are no better than citizens in other ways. For example, they adhere more to policy choices that are presented as the status quo. They are equally susceptible to ‘framing effects,’ meaning that they change their policy choices depending on [how] the question is phrased … even if the choices don’t change. And they discount the future at least as steeply as citizens. In other words, given similar policy outcomes or budgetary payoffs, they strongly prefer those that are offered now over those that require waiting, especially if they are told that there will be elections during the wait.”
Read the article here.