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Frequency of price increases and perceived inflation. An experimental investigation

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  • Huber, Odilo W.

Abstract

The effect of frequency of subjective experience of price increases on perceived inflation, i.e. the subjective experience of general price development, is investigated. The paper presents a two-phased psychological model of perceived inflation: first, information about product price increases is gathered in daily purchase. Second, these are integrated into one perceived inflation judgment. In the integration phase, the complexity of the task should trigger heuristic processing: higher frequency of price increases should enhance their availability and thus perceived inflation. Participants simulated purchases in two scenarios. Frequency of products with increased prices was varied while overall expenditure increases as well as relative price increase of individual products were balanced. Experiment 1 presented a high frequency condition with a majority of increased prices relative to previously learned reference prices and a low frequency condition with a majority of stable prices. Experiment 2 balanced cognitive effort for product price change estimation over conditions by replacing absolutely stable prices with slightly increased prices. As predicted, perceived inflation was higher with high frequencies of increased prices, while price increases of individual products were judged correctly. Experiment 3 ruled out the alternative hypothesis that presentation duration, which in the previous experiments correlated with presentation frequency, might have been the determining factor.

Suggested Citation

  • Huber, Odilo W., 2011. "Frequency of price increases and perceived inflation. An experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 651-661.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:5:p:651-661
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.06.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Del Missier, Fabio & Ranyard, Rob & Bonini, Nicolao, 2016. "Perceived inflation: The role of product accessibility and attitudes towards inflation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 97-106.
    2. Azar, Ofer H., 2013. "Competitive strategy when consumers are affected by reference prices," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 327-340.
    3. Georganas, Sotiris & Healy, Paul J. & Li, Nan, 2014. "Frequency bias in consumers׳ perceptions of inflation: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 144-158.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Perceived inflation; Price increase; Purchase frequency; Availability; Bias;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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