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Study notes

Availability Bias (Behavioural Economics)

  • Levels: AS, A Level
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

According to Marx and Weber (2012), availability bias or the availability heuristic refers to the human tendency to judge an event by the ease with which examples of the event can be retrieved from your memory or constructed anew.

Behavioural Economics - Availability Bias

The availability bias happens when we overestimating the likelihood of something happening because a similar event has either happened recently or because we feel very emotional about a previous similar event.

Biases affect how people process complex information

The availability bias happens we people often judge the likelihood of an event, or frequency of its occurrence by the ease with which examples and instances come easily to mind.

Most consumers are poor at risk assessments – for example they over-estimate the likelihood of attacks by sharks or list accidents.

Smokers may see one elderly heavy smoker and exaggerate the likely healthy life expectancy of this group.

Periods of very warm weather or experience of other extreme weather events may affect beliefs about causes of climate change

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