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Predicting the Gap between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay

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  • Roth, Gerrit
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    Abstract

    People report much larger willingness to accept (WTA) than willingness to pay (WTP) under a broad range of circumstances. This dissertation tries to answer the question when people will report this gap, how large the difference between the two answers will be and what reasons lie behind this behavior: We find that uncertainty about the desire to trade a good lies at the heart of the gap measured in experiments. A formal model extending Prospect Theory by “aversion to risk changes” predicts that the endowment effect increases with uncertainty. Data from our own behavioral experiment confirms the uncertainty hypothesis. When applied to a different phenomenon, so-called “Preference Reversal”, the model can predict when different types of the observed reversals occur, closing an explanatory gap that other theories have left open.

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    File URL: http://edoc.ub.uni-muenchen.de/4901/1/Roth_Gerrit.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Dissertations in Economics with number 4901.

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    Date of creation: 23 Jan 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:lmu:dissen:4901

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    Related research

    Keywords: Behavioral Economics; Endowment Effect; Contingent Valuation Surveys; Preference Reversal; Experimental Economics;

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    1. Levy-Garboua, L. & Montmarquette, C., 1996. "Cognition in Seemingly Riskless Choices and Judgments," Cahiers de recherche 9602, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    2. Kujal, Praveen & Smith, Vernon L., 2008. "The Endowment Effect," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    3. Brett Inder & Terry O'Brien, 2003. "The Endowment Effect and the Role of Uncertainty," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 289-301, 07.
    4. Harless, David W., 1989. "More laboratory evidence on the disparity between willingness to pay and compensation demanded," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 359-379, May.
    5. Grether, David M & Plott, Charles R, 1979. "Economic Theory of Choice and the Preference Reversal Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 623-38, September.
    6. John List & Jay Shogren, 2002. "Calibration of willingness-to-accept," Framed Field Experiments 00182, The Field Experiments Website.
    7. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2001. "For Better or For Worse: Default Effects and 401(k) Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 8651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ortona, Guido & Scacciati, Francesco, 1992. "New experiments on the endowment effect," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 277-296, June.
    9. Bradley Jorgensen & Geoffrey Syme & Brian Bishop & Blair Nancarrow, 1999. "Protest Responses in Contingent Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(1), pages 131-150, July.
    10. Shogren, Jason F. & Shin, Seung Youll & Hayes, Dermot J. & Kliebenstein, James, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," Staff General Research Papers 701, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    11. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
    12. Schmidt, Ulrich & Traub, Stefan, 2009. "An experimental investigation of the disparity between WTA and WTP for lotteries," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 28786, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    13. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2000. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," NBER Working Papers 7682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Brookshire, David S & Coursey, Don L, 1987. "Measuring the Value of a Public Good: An Empirical Comparison of Elicitation Procedures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 554-66, September.
    15. Thaler, Richard, 1980. "Toward a positive theory of consumer choice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 39-60, March.
    16. Bateman, Ian J, et al, 1997. "A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 479-505, May.
    17. Brown, Thomas C., 2005. "Loss aversion without the endowment effect, and other explanations for the WTA-WTP disparity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 367-379, July.
    18. H. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley Macleod, 2006. "Welfare Economics with Intransitive Revealed Preferences: A Theory of the Endowment Effect," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(2), pages 193-218, 05.
    19. Loomes, Graham & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 1992. "Are Preferences Monotonic? Testing Some Predictions of Regret Theory," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 59(233), pages 17-33, February.
    20. van de Ven, Niels & Zeelenberg, Marcel & van Dijk, Eric, 2005. "Buying and selling exchange goods: Outcome information, curiosity and the endowment effect," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 459-468, June.
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