Kessler, Judd B.
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PublicationInformation Avoidance and Image Concerns(2022-10-04) Exley, Christine L.; Kessler, Judd B.A rich literature finds that individuals avoid information and speculates that avoidance is driven by image concerns. This paper provides the first direct test of whether individuals avoid information because of image concerns. We build off of a classic paradigm, introducing a control condition that makes minimal changes to eliminate the role of image concerns while keeping other key features of the environment unchanged. Data from 6,421 experimental subjects shows that image concerns play a role in driving information avoidance, but a role that is substantially smaller-less than half of the magnitude-than the common approach in the literature would suggest.