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What is the Concorde Fallacy? The High Cost of Big Investments

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🧠 The Concorde Fallacy describes how we will continue to defend a bad investment, even when that defence costs more than just giving up.

In 1956, discussions started in England to create a supersonic airliner that would get people from London to NYC in under 3 hours (that's less than half the time of a current non-stop flight from Heathrow to JFK). In 1962, France's government joined the committee.

Seven years later, the Concorde made its first flight,  but it was already comically over budget - the French and UK governments had spent $1.44B just to get it off the ground. By 1976, it was clear that Concorde was just too expensive to run.

 But after 20 years of investment, the STAC (Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee) refused to give up on Concorde, which continued to fly until 2003. The French and UK governments never made any money from their folly (although the airlines that bought the Concorde - Air France and British Airways, did eek out modest profits).

🧠 This example of the Sunk Cost Fallacy was so extreme that it inspired the phrase, The Concorde Fallacy.



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About the author

Jen Clinehens, MS/MBA

Hi 👋 I'm Jen Clinehens (MS, MBA) the founder and Managing Director of Choice Hacking.

I started Choice Hacking in 2021 to help marketers and entrepreneurs figure out what makes buyers tick, and elevate their work using behavioral science, marketing psychology, and AI.

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