Reconsidering the Effect of Market Experience on the “Endowment Effect”
Simple exchange experiments have revealed that participants trade their endowment less frequently than standard demand theory would predict. List (2003a) ﬁnds that the most experienced dealers acting in a well-functioning market are not subject to this exchange asymmetry, suggesting that a signiﬁcant amount of market experience is required to overcome it. In order to understand this market-experience effect, we introduce a distinction between two types of uncertainty, choice uncertainty and trade uncertainty, both of which could lead to exchange asymmetry. We conjecture that trade uncertainty is most important for exchange asymmetry. To test this conjecture, we design an experiment where the two treatments impact diﬀerently on trade uncertainty, while controlling for choice uncertainty. Supporting our conjecture, we ﬁnd that "forcing" subjects to give away their endowment in a series of exchanges eliminates exchange asymmetry in a subsequent test. We discuss why markets might not provide sufficient incentives for learning to overcome exchange asymmetry.
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Volume (Year): 78 (2010)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
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