Campus News

Born losers

Jeff Berejikian, Meigs Professor of International Affairs in the School of Public and International Affairs, was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition in a story about how psychological bias can affect international policy.

Citing a common bias in which people who sustain a loss prefer to gamble to win back that loss rather than walking away, Berejikian said the same seems to be true in how U.S. officials approach trade policy.

Berejikian studied policy behavior in foreign trade disputes both when U.S. companies stood to gain a new market and when they stood to lose an existing market.

The study found that the preference was toward fighting a losing battle to regain losses.

“You should fight harder and longer in those areas where you expect to gain more and we don’t see that,” Berejikian told NPR. “The United States was much more willing to engage in an unproductive stalemate when there were unmet expectations. And what’s important is that this didn’t produce a better outcome.”