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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do people have a status quo bias against change?

A status quo bias minimizes the risks associated with change, but it also causes people to miss out on potential benefits that might even outweigh the risks. So why do people tend to have such a strong bias for the status quo? A number of other cognitive biases support the existence of the status quo bias.

How are we exposed to the status quo?

By definition, we are exposed to the status quo more than we are exposed to anything that is not the status quo. According to the mere exposure effect, that exposure itself creates a preference for the status quo. Status quo bias is sometimes the component of a rational choice.

Can loss aversion explain the status quo bias?

Loss aversion, therefore, cannot wholly explain the status quo bias, with other potential causes including regret avoidance, transaction costs and psychological commitment. A status quo bias can also be a rational route if there are cognitive or informational limitations. Decision outcomes are rarely certain, nor is the utility they may bring.

When is it rational to stick with the status quo?

When the cost of the transition is greater than the gains brought about by switching to the alternative, it is rational to stick with the status quo. Status quo bias becomes irrational when an individual ignores choices that can improve their situation simply because they want to maintain the status quo.

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