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Tom Sawyer and the construction of value

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  • Dan Ariely
  • George Loewenstein
  • Drazen Prelec

Abstract

This paper challenges the common assumption that economic agents know their tastes. After reviewing previous research showing that valuation of ordinary products and experiences can be manipulated by non-normative cues, we present three studies showing that in some cases people do not even have a pre-existing sense of whether an experience is good or bad – even when they have experienced a sample of it.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 05-10.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:05-10

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Keywords: Microeconomics;

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References

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  1. Shiller, Robert J., 1999. "Human behavior and the efficiency of the financial system," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 20, pages 1305-1340 Elsevier.
  2. Cass R. Sunstein & Daniel Kahneman & David Schkade & Ilana Ritov, 2001. "Predictably Incoherent Judgements," Discussion Paper Series dp273, The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  3. Kahneman, Daniel & Ritov, Ilana & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Economic Preferences or Attitude Expressions?: An Analysis of Dollar Responses to Public Issues," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 203-35, December.
  4. Fox, Craig R & Tversky, Amos, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603, August.
  5. Eric J. Johnson & David A. Schkade, 1989. "Bias in Utility Assessments: Further Evidence and Explanations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(4), pages 406-424, April.
  6. Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. " Does the Stock Market Rationally Reflect Fundamental Values?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 591-601, July.
  7. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-93, Fall.
  8. Keren, Gideon B. & Raaijmakers, Jeroen G. W., 1988. "On between-subjects versus within-subjects comparisons in testing utility theory," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 233-247, April.
  9. Chapman, Gretchen B. & Johnson, Eric J., 1999. "Anchoring, Activation, and the Construction of Values, , , , , ," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 115-153, August.
  10. Dan Ariely & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 73-105, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fioretti, Guido, 2009. "Either, Or. Exploration of an Emerging Decision Theory," MPRA Paper 12897, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Guido Baltussen & G. Post & Martijn Assem & Peter Wakker, 2012. "Random incentive systems in a dynamic choice experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 418-443, September.
  3. Randon, Emanuela & Simmons, Peter, 2010. "Base consumption levels and fixed costs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 222-224, August.
  4. Day, Brett & Bateman, Ian J. & Carson, Richard T. & Dupont, Diane & Louviere, Jordan J. & Morimoto, Sanae & Scarpa, Riccardo & Wang, Paul, 2012. "Ordering effects and choice set awareness in repeat-response stated preference studies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 73-91.
  5. Thijs Dekker & Paul Koster & Roy Brouwer, 2013. "Changing with the Tide: Semi-Parametric Estimation of Preference Dynamics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-074/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Is novelty always a good thing? Towards an evolutionary welfare economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 585-619, July.
  7. Andrea Isoni & Peter Brooks & Graham Loomes & Robert Sugden, 2011. "Do markets reveal preferences - or shape them?," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 11-03, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  8. Christian Schubert & Andreas Chai, 2012. "Sustainable Consumption and Consumer Sovereignty," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-14, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  9. Christian Schubert, 2012. "Pursuing Happiness," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-01, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  10. Kelvin Balcombe & Aurelia Samuel & Iain Fraser, 2009. "Estimating WTP With Uncertainty Choice Contingent Valuation," Studies in Economics 0921, Department of Economics, University of Kent.
  11. Isabelle Brocas & Juan D Carrillo, 2007. "The Brain as a Hierarchical Organization," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001587, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Marit Kragt, 2013. "The Effects of Changing Cost Vectors on Choices and Scale Heterogeneity," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(2), pages 201-221, February.
  13. Panos, Georgios & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2009. "Union Mediation and Adaptation to Reciprocal Loyalty Arrangements," MPRA Paper 15471, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Benjamin Y. Hayden & Sarah R. Heilbronner & Amrita C. Nair & Michael L. Platt, 2008. "Cognitive influences on risk-seeking by rhesus macaques," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 389-395, June.
  15. Vieider, Ferdinand M. & Lefebvre, Mathieu & Bouchouicha, Ranoua & Chmura, Thorsten & Hakimov, Rustamdjan & Krawczyk, Michal & Martinsson, Peter, 2013. "Common components of risk and uncertainty attitudes across contexts and domains: Evidence from 30 countries," Discussion Papers, WZB Junior Research Group Risk and Development SP II 2013-402, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  16. Kristina Shampan'er & Dan Ariely, 2006. "How small is zero price? : the true value of free products," Working Papers 06-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  17. Stefania Sitzia & Daniel Zizzo, 2011. "Does product complexity matter for competition in experimental retail markets?," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 70(1), pages 65-82, January.
  18. Thijs Dekker & Paul Koster & Roy Brouwer, 2013. "Changing with the Tide: Semi-Parametric Estimation of Preference Dynamics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-074/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
  19. Christophe Salvat, 2008. "Is Libertarian Paternalism an Oxymoron?," Working Papers hal-00336528, HAL.

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