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One Swallow Doesn't Make a Summer: New Evidence on Anchoring Effects

  • Zacharias Maniadis
  • Fabio Tufano
  • John A. List

Some researchers have argued that anchoring in economic valuations casts doubt on the assumption of consistent and stable preferences. We present new evidence that explores the strength of certain anchoring results. We then present a theoretical framework that provides insights into why we should be cautious of initial empirical findings in general. The model importantly highlights that the rate of false positives depends not only on the observed significance level, but also on statistical power, research priors, and the number of scholars exploring the question. Importantly, a few independent replications dramatically increase the chances that the original finding is true.

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

Volume (Year): 104 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 277-90

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:1:p:277-90
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.1.277
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  1. Alan Beggs & Kathryn Graddy, 2009. "Anchoring Effects: Evidence from Art Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 1027-39, June.
  2. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Zacharias Maniadis, 2012. "On the Robustness of Anchoring Effects in WTP and WTA Experiments," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 131-45, May.
  3. Andrew J. Oswald, 2007. "An Examination of the Reliability of Prestigious Scholarly Journals: Evidence and Implications for Decision-Makers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(293), pages 21-31, 02.
  4. Fabio Tufano, 2008. "Are ‘True’ Preferences Revealed in Repeated Markets? An Experimental Demonstration of Context-dependent Valuations," Discussion Papers 2008-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  5. Joseph P. Romano & Michael Wolf, 2005. "Stepwise Multiple Testing as Formalized Data Snooping," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(4), pages 1237-1282, 07.
  6. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "Viewpoint: On the generalizability of lab behaviour to the field," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(2), pages 347-370, May.
  7. Dan Ariely & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 73-105, February.
  8. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2009. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 51-104, February.
  9. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  10. Levitt, Steven D. & List, John A., 2009. "Field experiments in economics: The past, the present, and the future," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-18, January.
  11. Jonathan E. Alevy & Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2011. "Field Experiments on Anchoring of Economic Valuations," Working Papers 2011-02, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
  12. repec:feb:artefa:0087 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Uri Simonsohn & George Loewenstein, 2006. "Mistake #37: The Effect of Previously Encountered Prices on Current Housing Demand," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 175-199, 01.
  14. Hunter, John E, 2001. " The Desperate Need for Replications," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 149-58, June.
  15. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, 09.
  16. Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
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