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Exploring the Nature of Loss Aversion

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Author Info

  • Johnson, Eric J.

    ()
    (Columbia University)

  • Gächter, Simon

    ()
    (University of Nottingham)

  • Herrmann, Andreas

    ()
    (University of St. Gallen)

Abstract

Loss aversion, the fact that losses have a greater impact than gains, is a fundamental property of behavioral accounts of choice. In this paper, we suggest four possible characterizations of the relative impact of losses and gains: (1) It could be a constant, such as the much cited value of 2, as in losses have twice the impact of gains. (2) It could be a systematic individual difference, with some individuals more or less loss aversion, (3) it could be a property of the attribute, or (4) a property of the different processes used to construct selling and buying prices. We examine the behavior of a large sample of auto buyers using an experiment which allows us to measure loss aversion, at the individual level for several different attributes. A set of hierarchical linear models shows that to understand loss aversion, one must consider the process used to construct prices. Interestingly, we show that knowledge of the attribute lowers loss aversion and that age and attribute importance increases loss aversion.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2015.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2015

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Keywords: reference-dependent preferences; consumer choice; loss aversion;

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References

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  1. Haigh, Michael S. & List, John A., 2002. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 28554, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  2. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  3. Gregory W. Fischer & Ziv Carmon & Dan Ariely & Gal Zauberman, 1999. "Goal-Based Construction of Preferences: Task Goals and the Prominence Effect," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(8), pages 1057-1075, August.
  4. Camerer, Colin, et al, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-41, May.
  5. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion And Seller Behavior: Evidence From The Housing Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1233-1260, November.
  6. Bruce G. S. Hardie & Eric J. Johnson & Peter S. Fader, 1993. "Modeling Loss Aversion and Reference Dependence Effects on Brand Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 12(4), pages 378-394.
  7. Daniel S. Putler, 1992. "Incorporating Reference Price Effects into a Theory of Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 11(3), pages 287-309.
  8. Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, Kenneth E., 2002. "A Review of WTA/WTP Studies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 426-447, November.
  9. Heath, Timothy B, et al, 2000. " Asymmetric Competition in Choice and the Leveraging of Competitive Disadvantages," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 291-308, December.
  10. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71, February.
  11. Sayman, Serdar & Onculer, Ayse, 2005. "Effects of study design characteristics on the WTA-WTP disparity: A meta analytical framework," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 289-312, April.
  12. Kobberling, Veronika & Wakker, Peter P., 2005. "An index of loss aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 119-131, May.
  13. Carmon, Ziv & Ariely, Dan, 2000. " Focusing on the Forgone: How Value Can Appear So Different to Buyers and Sellers," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 360-70, December.
  14. Alba, Joseph W & Hutchinson, J Wesley, 1987. " Dimensions of Consumer Expertise," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 411-54, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2007. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6398, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Masatlioglu, Yusufcan & Uler, Neslihan, 2013. "Understanding the reference effect," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 403-423.
  3. Simon Gaechter & Eric Johnson & Andreas Herrmann, 2007. "Individual-Level Loss Aversion In Riskless And Risky Choices," Discussion Papers 2007-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. De Borger, Bruno & Fosgerau, Mogens, 2008. "The trade-off between money and travel time: A test of the theory of reference-dependent preferences," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 101-115, July.
  5. Bilgin, Baler, 2012. "Losses loom more likely than gains: Propensity to imagine losses increases their subjective probability," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 203-215.
  6. repec:dgr:umaror:2009010 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. repec:dgr:umamet:2009042 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. repec:dgr:umaror:2009007 is not listed on IDEAS

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