Beliefs and expectations govern how individuals interact with the world around them. They play a central role in every decision-making process. But individuals’ views of the world are often systematically biased.


state of research

Building on Tversky and Kahneman’s heuristics and biases program, extensive empirical literature in economics has emerged with the focus of unearthing the micro-foundations of biased belief-formation processes. Empirical studies have demonstrated the crucial role of such belief distortions for a broad range of economic outcomes, for example, boom and bust cycles at the aggregate level of the economy, corporate investment, educational choices, political behavior, and unemployment insurance.

briq's contribution

In 2020 Florian Zimmermann received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council, which provides roughly 1.3 million euros over five years for his project on "The Role of Memory for Economic Belief Formation." His previous papers on the foundation of belief formation processes got published in the American Economic Review and the Review of Economic Studies.

Alongside our residential researchers, a majority of the briq visiting professors and research affiliates worked on beliefs and expectations, making briq a European research hub in this field. In 2019, we organized the briq Beliefs Workshop bringing together leading scientists from around the world.

" We employ insights from memory research and psychology to enhance our understanding of the formation of beliefs and expectations.
Florian Zimmermann

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May 18, 2021

How associative memory shapes belief formation


November 18, 2020

Associative memory and belief formation

Self Image


September 3, 2020

Florian Zimmermann wins ERC Starting Grant

Florian Zimmermann


April 21, 2020

Social norms and motivated reasoning in the corona crisis

Self Image


February 4, 2020

The dynamics of motivated beliefs

Florian Zimmermann


May 28, 2019

briq Beliefs Workshop

briq Beliefs Workshop

working papers

  • Associative memory and belief formation.
    Enke, B., Schwerter, F., & Zimmermann, F.
  • Beliefs and utility: Experimental evidence on preferences for information.
    Falk, A. & Zimmermann, F.
  • Yanagizawa-Drott. Misinformation during a pandemic. No. w27417. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2020.
    Falk, A. & Zimmermann, F.
  • "Disguising Prejudice: Popular Rationales as Excuses for Intolerant Expression." University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper 2020-73 (2020).
    Bursztyn, Leonardo, Ingar Haaland, Aakaash Rao, and Christopher Roth
  • "Beliefs about racial discrimination and support for pro-black policies." Available at SSRN 3039629 (2019).
    Haaland, Ingar, and Christopher Roth.
  • "Subjective models of the macroeconomy: Evidence from experts and a representative sample." Available at SSRN 3355356 (2019).
    Andre, Peter, Carlo Pizzinelli, Christopher Roth, and Johannes Wohlfart.
  • "Overconfidence and prejudice." arXiv preprint arXiv:1909.08497 (2019).
    Heidhues, Paul, Botond Kőszegi, and Philipp Strack.
  • "Fragile self-esteem." Available at SSRN 3412006 (2019).
    Koszegi, Botond, George Loewenstein, and Takeshi Murooka.
  • "On persuasion with endogenous misspecified beliefs." (2019).
    Eliaz, Kfir, Ran Spiegler, and Heidi C. Thysen.
  • "Learning from unknown information sources." Available at SSRN 3314789 (2020).
    Liang, Yucheng.
  • "The expected (signaling) value of higher education." (2020).
    Ehrmantraut, Laura, Pia Pinger, and Renske Stans.


  • "Convergence in models of misspecified learning." Theoretical Economics 16, no. 1 (2021): 73-99.
    Heidhues, Paul, Botond Koszegi, and Philipp Strack.
  • "Beliefs about public debt and the demand for government spending." Journal of Econometrics (2021).
    Roth, Christopher, Sonja Settele, and Johannes Wohlfart.
  • (2020). The dynamics of motivated beliefs. American Economic Review, 110(2), 337-361.
    Zimmermann, F.
  • "A model of competing narratives." American Economic Review 110, no. 12 (2020): 3786-3816.
    Eliaz, Kfir, and Ran Spiegler.
  • "Does information change attitudes toward immigrants?." Demography 57, no. 3 (2020): 1117-1143.
    Grigorieff, Alexis, Christopher Roth, and Diego Ubfal.
  • "How do expectations about the macroeconomy affect personal expectations and behavior?." Review of Economics and Statistics 102, no. 4 (2020): 731-748.
    Roth, Christopher, and Johannes Wohlfart.
  • "Labor market concerns and support for immigration." Journal of Public Economics 191 (2020): 104256.
    Haaland, Ingar, and Christopher Roth.
  • (2019). Correlation neglect in belief formation. Review of Economic Studies, 86(1), 313-332.
    Enke, B., & Zimmermann, F.
  • "Emotional tagging and belief formation: The long-lasting effects of experiencing communism." In AEA Papers and Proceedings, vol. 109, pp. 567-71. 2019.
    Laudenbach, Christine, Ulrike Malmendier, and Alexandra Niessen-Ruenzi.
  • "Unrealistic expectations and misguided learning." Econometrica 86, no. 4 (2018): 1159-1214.
    Heidhues, Paul, Botond Kőszegi, and Philipp Strack.
  • "The renaissance of belief-based utility in economics." Nature Human Behaviour 2, no. 3 (2018): 166-167.
    Loewenstein, George, and Andras Molnar.
  • "Naivete-based discrimination." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 132, no. 2 (2017): 1019-1054.
    Heidhues, Paul, and Botond Kőszegi.
  • "Bayesian networks and boundedly rational expectations." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 131, no. 3 (2016): 1243-1290.
    Spiegler, Ran.
  • "Mindful economics: The production, consumption, and value of beliefs." Journal of Economic Perspectives 30, no. 3 (2016): 141-64.
    Bénabou, Roland, and Jean Tirole.
  • "The under-appreciated drive for sense-making." Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 126 (2016): 137-154.
    Chater, Nick, and George Loewenstein.
  • "The preference for belief consonance." Journal of Economic Perspectives 30, no. 3 (2016): 165-88.
    Golman, Russell, George Loewenstein, Karl Ove Moene, and Luca Zarri.
  • "Behavioral CEOs: The role of managerial overconfidence." Journal of Economic Perspectives 29, no. 4 (2015): 37-60.
    Malmendier, Ulrike, and Geoffrey Tate.
  • "On the verges of overconfidence." Journal of Economic Perspectives 29, no. 4 (2015): 3-8.
    Malmendier, Ulrike, and Timothy Taylor.
  • "Identity, morals, and taboos: Beliefs as assets." The Quarterly Journal of Economics 126, no. 2 (2011): 805-855.
    Bénabou, Roland, and Jean Tirole.
  • "Overconfidence and early‐life experiences: the effect of managerial traits on corporate financial policies." The Journal of finance 66, no. 5 (2011): 1687-1733.
    Malmendier, Ulrike, Geoffrey Tate, and Jon Yan.
  • "Belief in a just world and redistributive politics." The Quarterly journal of economics 121, no. 2 (2006): 699-746.
    Benabou, Roland, and Jean Tirole.
  • "Who makes acquisitions? CEO overconfidence and the market's reaction." Journal of financial Economics 89, no. 1 (2008): 20-43.
    Malmendier, Ulrike, and Geoffrey Tate.
  • "CEO overconfidence and corporate investment." The journal of finance 60, no. 6 (2005): 2661-2700.
    Malmendier, Ulrike, and Geoffrey Tate.
  • "Does overconfidence affect corporate investment? CEO overconfidence measures revisited." European financial management 11, no. 5 (2005): 649-659.
    Malmendier, Ulrike, and Geoffrey Tate.