Making sense of overconfidence in market entry

Daylian M. Cain, Don A. Moore, Uriel Haran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Entrepreneurs are often described as overconfident (or at least very confident), even when entering difficult markets. However, recent laboratory findings suggest that difficult tasks tend to produce underconfidence. How do entrepreneurs maintain confidence in difficult tasks? Our two laboratory experiments and one archival study reconcile the literature by distinguishing types of overconfidence and identifying what type is most prominent in each type of task. Furthermore, we critically examine the notion that 'overconfidence' explains excess market entry: we find that entry into different markets is not driven by confidence in one's own absolute skill, but by confidence in one's skill relative to that of others. Finally, we consider whether overconfidence in relative skill is driven by neglecting competitors or by systematic errors made when considering them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • competition
  • confidence
  • market entry
  • overconfidence
  • social comparison
  • underconfidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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