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Tom Sawyer and the construction of value

  • Ariely, Dan
  • Loewenstein, George
  • Prelec, Drazen

This paper challenges the common assumption that economic agents know their tastes. After reviewing previous research showing that valuation of ordinary products and experiences can be manipulated by non-normative cues, we present three studies showing that in some cases people do not even have a pre-existing sense of whether an experience is good or bad – even when they have experienced a sample of it.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 60 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 1-10

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:60:y:2006:i:1:p:1-10
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Keren, Gideon B. & Raaijmakers, Jeroen G. W., 1988. "On between-subjects versus within-subjects comparisons in testing utility theory," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 233-247, April.
  2. Robert J. Shiller, 1998. "Human Behavior and the Efficiency of the Financial System," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1172, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Fox, Craig R & Tversky, Amos, 1995. "Ambiguity Aversion and Comparative Ignorance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 585-603, August.
  4. Chapman, Gretchen B. & Johnson, Eric J., 1999. "Anchoring, Activation, and the Construction of Values, , , , , ," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 115-153, August.
  5. Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. " Does the Stock Market Rationally Reflect Fundamental Values?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 591-601, July.
  6. Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard H, 1989. "Intertemporal Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 181-93, Fall.
  7. Cass R. Sunstein & Daniel Kahneman & David Schkade & Ilana Ritov, 2001. "Predictably Incoherent Judgements," Discussion Paper Series dp273, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  8. Kahneman, Daniel & Ritov, Ilana & Schkade, David A, 1999. "Economic Preferences or Attitude Expressions?: An Analysis of Dollar Responses to Public Issues," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 203-35, December.
  9. Eric J. Johnson & David A. Schkade, 1989. "Bias in Utility Assessments: Further Evidence and Explanations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(4), pages 406-424, April.
  10. 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.
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