Biased Calibration: Exacerbating Instead of Mitigating Entrepreneurial Overplacement with Reference Values

Daniel Blaseg, Armin Schwienbacher

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Nascent entrepreneurs often believe that their chances of success are better than those of others due to imperfect information about the competencies and accomplishments of other entrepreneurs, leading to overplacement. Theory suggests that the provision of historical outcome data of comparable projects could help entrepreneurs develop more realistic plans and expectations by closing the information gap and enabling the calibration of their beliefs. However, effectively calibrating beliefs by incorporating new reference information requires effortful cognitive processing and rational integration of the data, which may be impeded by the same cognitive biases leading to overplacement initially. Drawing from a unique dataset that allows us to observe substantial parts of the planning process of 971 entrepreneurs, we investigate the effectiveness of providing reference values as a debiasing tool. Rather than rationally leveraging the information for honest self-assessment, our findings suggest that entrepreneurs use the information to differentiate themselves even more from the reference group after they see the historical values. This, in turn, results in an even higher level of overplacement.JEL Classifications G41, D91, L26, L25.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalEntrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
Early online dateFeb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2024


  • Crowdfunding
  • Debiasing
  • Decision-making
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Overplacement


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