Yves Le Yaouanq

Welcome! I am an Assistant Professor in economics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.

My work lies at the intersection of decision theory, behavioral economics and experimental economics.

You can download my CV here.

Research articles

1. Behavioral characterizations of naiveté for time-inconsistent preferences (download)
with David S. Ahn, Ryota Iijima and Todd Sarver
(Forthcoming, Review of Economic Studies)

We propose nonparametric definitions of absolute and comparative naivete. These definitions leverage ex-ante choice of menu to identify predictions of future behavior and ex-post (random) choices from menus to identify actual behavior. The main advantage of our definitions is their independence from any assumed functional form for the utility function representing behavior. An individual is sophisticated if she is indifferent ex ante between retaining the option to choose from a menu ex post or committing to her actual distribution of choices from that menu. She is naive if she prefers the flexibility in the menu, reflecting a mistaken belief that she will act more virtuously than she actually will. We propose two definitions of comparative naivete and explore the restrictions implied by our definitions for several prominent models of time inconsistency.

2. A model of ideological thinking (download)

This paper develops a theory in which heterogeneity in political preferences produces a partisan disagreement about objective facts. A political decision involving both idiosyncratic preferences and scientific knowledge is considered. Voters form motivated beliefs in order to improve their subjective anticipation of the future political outcome. In equilibrium, they tend to deny the scientific arguments advocating the political orientations that run counter to their interests. Collective denial is the strongest in societies where contingent policy is the least likely to be implemented, either because of voters' intrinsic preferences or because of rigidities in the political process. The theory predicts that providing mixed evidence produces a temporary polarization of beliefs, but that disclosing unequivocal information eliminates the disagreement.

3. It's not my fault! Self-confidence and experimentation (download)
with Nina Hestermann

We study the inference and experimentation problem of an agent in a situation where the outcomes depend on the individual’s intrinsic ability and on an external variable. We analyze the mistakes made by decision-makers who hold inaccurate prior beliefs about their ability. Overconfident individuals take too much credit for their successes and excessively blame external factors if they fail. They are too easily dissatisfied with their environment, which leads them to experiment in variable environments and revise their self-confidence over time. In contrast, underconfident decision-makers might be trapped in low-quality environments and incur perpetual utility losses.

Work in progress

1. Learning about one's self
with Peter Schwardmann

2. An axiomatic model of belief distortion
with Mira Frick and Ryota Iijima

3. An economic model of the meat paradox
with Nina Hestermann and Nicolas Treich