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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