Pavlovian Processes in Consumer Choice: The Physical Presence of a Good Increases Willingness-to-Pay
This paper describes a series of laboratory experiments studying whether the form in which items are displayed at the time of decision affects the dollar value that subjects place on them. Using a Becker-DeGroot auction under three different conditions — (i) text displays, (ii) image displays, and (iii) displays of the actual items — we find that subjects' willingness-to-pay is 40-61 percent larger in the real than in the image and text displays. Furthermore, follow-up experiments suggest the presence of the real item triggers preprogrammed consummatory Pavlovian processes that promote behaviors that lead to contact with appetitive items whenever they are available. (JEL C91, D03, D12, D87)
Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
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- Jack L. Knetsch & J. A. Sinden, 1984. "Willingness to Pay and Compensation Demanded: Experimental Evidence of an Unexpected Disparity in Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(3), pages 507-521.
- Solnick, Sara J., 2007. "Cash and alternate methods of accounting in an experimental game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 316-321, February.
- Klaus Wertenbroch, 1998. "Consumption Self-Control by Rationing Purchase Quantities of Virtue and Vice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(4), pages 317-337.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-1348, December.
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