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The Sunk Cost Bias and Managerial Pricing Practices

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  • Nabil Al-Najjar
  • Sandeep Baliga
  • David Besanko

Abstract

This paper provides an explanation for why the sunk cost bias persists among firms in a competitive environment in which rich learning possibilities are allowed. We envision firms that experiment with cost methodologies that are consistent with real-world accounting practices, including ones that confuse the relevance of variable, fixed, and sunk coststo pricing decisions. Firms follow “naive†adaptive learning to adjust prices and reinforcement learning to modify their costing methodologies. Costing and pricing practices that increase profits are reinforced. We show that all firms eventually display the sunk cost bias in their pricing behavior

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 666156000000000496.

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Date of creation: 29 Mar 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:666156000000000496

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  1. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
  2. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters, 2006. "Does Auctioning of Entry Licences Induce Collusion? An Experimental Study," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 769-791.
  3. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Equilibrium Incentives in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 927-40, December.
  4. Federico Echenique., 2000. "Comparative Statics by Adaptive Dynamics and The Correspondence Principle," Economics Working Papers E00-273, University of California at Berkeley.
  5. Vives, Xavier, 1990. "Nash equilibrium with strategic complementarities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 305-321.
  6. Parayre, Roch, 1995. "The strategic implications of sunk costs: A behavioral perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 417-442, December.
  7. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1991. "Adaptive and sophisticated learning in normal form games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 82-100, February.
  8. Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2005. "The Dynamic Evolution of Preferences," Discussion Papers 1415, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Samuelson, Larry, 2001. "Introduction to the Evolution of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 225-230, April.
  10. David A. Brown & Peter Booth & Francesco Giacobbe, 2004. "Technological and organizational influences on the adoption of activity-based costing in Australia," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 44(3), pages 329-356.
  11. Smith, Vernon L, 1991. "Rational Choice: The Contrast between Economics and Psychology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 877-97, August.
  12. Friedman, James W. & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2001. "Learning in Games by Random Sampling," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 55-84, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Heifetz, Aviad & Segev, Ella & Talley, Eric, 2007. "Market design with endogenous preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 121-153, January.
  2. Lynette Molyneaux & John Foster & Liam Wagner, 2010. "Is there a more effective way to reduce carbon emissions?," Energy Economics and Management Group Working Papers 04, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  3. Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2005. "The Dynamic Evolution of Preferences," Discussion Papers 1415, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Buccirossi, Paolo & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2006. "Optimal Fines in the Era of Whistleblowers," CEPR Discussion Papers 5465, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. David Kelsey & Frank Milne, 2008. "Imperfect Competition and Corporate Governance," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(6), pages 1115-1141, December.

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