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Price perception and confirmation bias in the context of a VAT increase

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  • Christandl, Fabian
  • Fetchenhauer, Detlef
  • Hoelzl, Erik

Abstract

This paper examines a potential confirmation bias in price perception in consequence to a real-world event and different explanations for such a confirmation bias. In a panel design conducted 2 months before and after a raise in value-added tax (VAT), 303 participants had to estimate the current prices for four products affected and four products not affected by this raise in VAT and the anticipated or recalled prices of these products. Before the VAT increase, an undifferentiated belief in strong future price increases was prevalent. After the VAT increase, a confirmation bias was found: in retrospect, participants reported price increases that were significantly higher than the official price development and in line with an undifferentiated belief in marked price increases. Two theoretical explanations for confirmation bias, i.e., the biased use of price information and the selective distortion of memory, fit the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Christandl, Fabian & Fetchenhauer, Detlef & Hoelzl, Erik, 2011. "Price perception and confirmation bias in the context of a VAT increase," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 131-141, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:1:p:131-141
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bruine de Bruin, Wändi & van der Klaauw, Wilbert & Topa, Giorgio, 2011. "Expectations of inflation: The biasing effect of thoughts about specific prices," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 834-845.
    2. Bruine de Bruin, Wändi & van der Klaauw, Wilbert & van Rooij, Maarten & Teppa, Federica & de Vos, Klaas, 2017. "Measuring expectations of inflation: Effects of survey mode, wording, and opportunities to revise," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 45-58.
    3. Sinkey, Michael, 2015. "How do experts update beliefs? Lessons from a non-market environment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 55-63.
    4. Azar, Ofer H., 2013. "Competitive strategy when consumers are affected by reference prices," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 327-340.
    5. Gärling, Tommy & Gamble, Amelie & Christandl, Fabian, 2013. "Income increases do not compensate for perceived inflation—A price-consumption anomaly," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 11-15.

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