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A Dynamic Explanation of the Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept Disparity

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  • Catherine L. Kling
  • John A. List
  • Jinhua Zhao

Abstract

Evidence from laboratory experiments suggests that important disparities exist between willingness to pay (WTP) and compensation demanded for the same good. This study advances, and experimentally tests, a new explanation of the WTP/WTA disparity—a dynamic theory based on the presence of commitment costs. We find that the commitment cost theory combined with a simple behavioral anomaly is able to lend insights into the causes and severity of the WTA/WTP disparity. Further, we find that market experience attenuates the behavioral anomaly, consistent with the notion that no value disparity exists for agents with sufficient market experience.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16483.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16483

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  1. John A. List, 2002. "Preference Reversals of a Different Kind: The "More Is Less" Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1636-1643, December.
  2. 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.
  3. Shogren, Jason F. & Margolis, Michael & Koo, Cannon & List, John A., 2001. "A random nth-price auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 409-421, December.
  4. Zhao, Jinhua & Kling, Catherine L., 2004. "Willingness-To-Pay, Compensating Variation, and the Cost of Commitment," Staff General Research Papers 1875, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. Knez, Peter & Smith, Vernon L & Williams, Arlington W, 1985. "Individual Rationality, Market Rationality, and Value Estimation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 397-402, May.
  7. Zhao, Jinhua & Kling, Catherine L., 2001. "A new explanation for the WTP/WTA disparity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 293-300, December.
  8. Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, K. E., 2003. "Willingness to accept, willingness to pay and the income effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 537-545, August.
  9. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
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  1. > Environmental and Natural Resource Economics > Environmental Economics > Valuation > Contingent valuation method > Willingness to pay versus willingness to accept
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Cited by:
  1. Lunn,Pete & Lunn, Mary, 2014. "What Can I Get For It? The Relationship Between the Choice Equivalent, Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay," Papers WP479, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  2. Lunn, Pete & Lunn, Mary, 2014. "A Computational Theory of Willingness to Exchange," Papers WP477, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

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