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The Willingness to Pay—Willingness to Accept Gap, the "Endowment Effect," Subject Misconceptions, and Experimental Procedures for Eliciting Valuations: Comment

  • Andrea Isoni
  • Graham Loomes
  • Robert Sugden

Plott and Zeiler (2005) report that the willingness-to-pay/willingness-to-accept disparity is absent for mugs in a particular experimental setting, designed to neutralize misconceptions about the procedures used to elicit valuations. This result has received sustained attention in the literature. However, other data from that same study, not published in that paper, exhibit a significant and persistent disparity when the same experimental procedures are applied to lotteries. We report new data confirming both results, thereby suggesting that the presence or absence of a disparity may be a more complex issue than some may have supposed. (JEL C91, D12, D81, D83)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 991-1011

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:2:p:991-1011
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  1. Charles R. Plott & Kathryn Zeiler, 2005. "The Willingness to Pay–Willingness to Accept Gap, the "Endowment Effect," Subject Misconceptions, and Experimental Procedures for Eliciting Valuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 530-545, June.
  2. Michael Mandler, 2004. "Status quo maintenance reconsidered: changing or incomplete preferences?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(499), pages F518-F535, November.
  3. Steffen Huck & Georg Kirchsteiger & Jörg Oechssler, 2005. "Learning to like what you have - explaining the endowment effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 689-702, 07.
  4. Shogren, Jason F. & Seung Y. Shin & Dermot J. Hayes & James B. Kliebenstein, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 255-70, March.
  5. Charles R. Plott & Kathryn Zeiler, 2007. "Exchange Asymmetries Incorrectly Interpreted as Evidence of Endowment Effect Theory and Prospect Theory?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1449-1466, September.
  6. 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 1325-48, December.
  7. Kovalchik, Stephanie & Camerer, Colin F. & Grether, David M. & Plott, Charles R. & Allman, John M., 2003. "Aging and decision making: A comparison between neurologically healthy elderly and young individuals," Working Papers 1180, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  8. Rabin, Matthew, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt731230f8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  9. Sugden, Robert, 2003. "Reference-dependent subjective expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 172-191, August.
  10. Jay R. Corrigan & Matthew C. Rousu, 2008. "Testing Whether Field Auction Experiments are Demand Revealing in Practice," Working Papers 0804, Kenyon College, Department of Economics.
  11. Willig, Robert D, 1976. "Consumer's Surplus without Apology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 589-97, September.
  12. Kolstad, Charles D. & Guzman, Rolando M., 1999. "Information and the Divergence between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 66-80, July.
  13. Lange, Andreas & Ratan, Anmol, 2010. "Multi-dimensional reference-dependent preferences in sealed-bid auctions - How (most) laboratory experiments differ from the field," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 634-645, March.
  14. Jeremy Clark & Lana Friesen, 2006. "The Causes of Order Effects in Contingent Valuation Surveys: An Experimental Investigation," Working Papers in Economics 06/06, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  15. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
  16. Tsur, Matan, 2008. "The selectivity effect of past experience on purchasing decisions: Implications for the WTA-WTP disparity," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 739-746, November.
  17. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  18. Graham Loomes & Shepley Orr & Robert Sugden, 2009. "Taste uncertainty and status quo effects in consumer choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 113-135, October.
  19. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00176025 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  21. Emmanuel Flachaire & Guillaume Hollard, 2008. "Individual sensitivity to framing effects," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00176025, HAL.
  22. Richard H. Thaler & Eric J. Johnson, 1990. "Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 36(6), pages 643-660, June.
  23. repec:feb:framed:0078 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Hanemann, W Michael, 1991. "Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: How Much Can They Differ?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 635-47, June.
  25. Knetsch, Jack L, 1989. "The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1277-84, December.
  26. Knetsch, Jack L. & Wong, Wei-Kang, 2009. "The endowment effect and the reference state: Evidence and manipulations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 407-413, August.
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