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Biases in Appraising Creditworthiness

International Journal of Bank Marketing

ISSN: 0265-2323

Article publication date: 1 March 1992



In the mid 1970s two psychologists, Kahneman and Tversky, isolated three major aspects of heuristics which induce biases in our decisions, which they termed as: (1) representativeness, (2) availability and (3) anchoring. An example of the bias within the representativeness heuristic is the underutilization of base rates. Decision makers tend systematically to overweigh current information and underweigh background information (prior probabilities) relative to what Bayes′ theorem implies. Bias in the availability heuristic is observed for instance in the area of government regulation. Proponents of increasing government regulation of business consider the benefits of eliminating the relatively small number of observed abuses but do not consider the large number of cases where the current system has worked. Decision makers exhibit a tendency to concentrate on extremes rather than means. This is because extremes are more readily available to retrieve from our mental set (mind) than means. On the anchoring heuristic, it is noticed that people allow their decisions to be distorted by the presence of points of reference that should be irrelevant. Discusses biases associated with one particular activity which is important to bank marketing officials, i.e. assessing creditworthiness, and substantiates such a bias using empirical findings.



Shanmugam, B. and Bourke, P. (1992), "Biases in Appraising Creditworthiness", International Journal of Bank Marketing, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 10-16.




Copyright © 1992, MCB UP Limited

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