Lately, I'm seeing (or, more likely, noticing) lots of versions of the idea that overconfidence is good for us. It's not new. Adam Smith said something along these lines, and mentioned lottery gambling as an example (that's in my field, so I've cited it a lot).

But is it true, and in what sense? Or is belief in the pragmatic value of overconfidence just a reflection of the same biases that give rise to overconfidence in the first place?

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I would imagine that this should be a question that can be explored experimentally (at least in some environments). I recently read a decision-theoretic book by Igor Douven that has a nice treatment of the benefits of over-optimistic strategies.

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