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Flowers and an honour box: Evidence on framing effects

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  • Schlüter, Achim
  • Vollan, Björn

Abstract

This paper analyses the behaviour of customers in a flower field, where payment is made into an honour box. There is a price indicated for the flowers. However, as no monitoring takes place and the farmer has never enforced formal law, people can decide how much they want to pay. If people were to make a narrow rational choice, they would simply take the unsupervised flowers without paying and the market would collapse. However, payments were and are in general high enough to make considerable profits. The business is flourishing. In the experiment, we left several different messages next to the cashbox to influence payments. Legal threats and moral appeals were studied in similar field settings with mixed results. We hypothesize that legal threats and moral appeals are less important than the context in which people make their decision. Once we indicated that the flower field belonged to a family, turnover and payment rate per customer increased substantially. We also observed a switch to fewer but more expensive flowers. However, no significant results were obtained for other treatments: consulting framing, moral appeal and legal threats. The results show that to understand the market success of a business, we have to investigate the expectations and opinions which people associate with the specific business context.

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  • Schlüter, Achim & Vollan, Björn, 2015. "Flowers and an honour box: Evidence on framing effects," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 186-199.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:57:y:2015:i:c:p:186-199
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2014.10.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Elisa Hofmann & Michael E. Fiagbenu & Asri Özgümüs & Amir M. Tahamtan & Tobias Regner, 2018. "My Peers are Watching me - Audience and Peer Effects in a Pay-What-You-Want Context," Jena Economic Research Papers 2018-019, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Elisa Hofmann, 2020. "The power of close relationships and audiences: Interpersonal closeness and payment observability as determinants of voluntary payments," Jena Economic Research Papers 2020-016, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

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