Category Science Radar
02 June 2022

Why people form unrealistic expectations

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TUMCS doctoral student receives award from the Schmölders Foundation

Great honor for Christoph Drobner: As a doctoral student at the TUM Campus Straubing for Biotechnology and Sustainability, he was awarded the Schmölders Foundation 2022 Prize in early May. The social science committee of the “Verein für Socialpolitik“ (VfS) awarded Drobner for his study "Motivated Beliefs and Anticipation of Uncertainty Resolution." In his work, Drobner seeks to understand why people form unrealistic expectations when making important economic decisions. The prize is endowed with 3,000 euros.


Drobner’s research focuses on behavioral and experimental economics. In the award-winning study, he tests the hypothesis that people selectively process information about their personal characteristics and future prospects, overweighting positive information relative to negative information. In a carefully designed laboratory experiment, participants are asked to form expectations about their relative performance in an IQ test while receiving objective information. The results show that participants do only overweight positive relative to negative information when they expect no resolution of their actual performance in the IQ test.


"With his study, Mr. Drobner provides an excellent contribution to the understanding of the literature on self-image-supportive information processing," the expert jury concluded. It also praised the originality and high scientific level of the study. Christoph Drobner's paper was the first awarded single-authored work by a doctoral student.


The prize from the Schmölders Foundation is granted by a jury of experts for an essay published in a scientific journal within the past three years. The jury is constituted alternately from the social science, finance, and economic history committees of the VfS. Award winners are announced at the annual meeting of the association, and the award is presented at the annual meeting of the respective committee.


Christoph Drobner is doing his PhD at the Chair of Economics of Prof. Sebastian Goerg at TUM Campus Straubing. Before joining Goerg's team, Drobner completed his master's degree in economics at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, specializing in microeconomics and strategic interaction.



Drobner, Christoph. 2022. „Motivated Beliefs and Anticipation of Uncertainty Resolution.“ American Economic Review: Insights, 4 (1): 89-105.