IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Buyers' Pricing Behavior for Risky Alternatives: Encoding Processes and Preference Reversals

  • Jeff T. Casey

    (W. Averell Harriman School for Management and Policy, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794-3775)

Registered author(s):

    Numerous studies have examined individuals' minimum selling prices or certainty equivalents for lotteries as measures of preference, but few have examined maximum buying prices. Because every transaction involves a buyer as well as a seller, buyers' pricing behavior is of interest in its own right. Two prospect theory based descriptive models of maximum buying prices---the integration and segregation models---are developed from different assumptions about cognitive encoding processes. The models were tested experimentally using an incentive-compatible cash payoff scheme in which maximum buying prices for bets and choices between bets were elicited from subjects. Surprisingly, observed maximum buying prices were far below expected values even for bets with probabilities of winning near 1.0. This suggests buyers are strongly influenced by loss aversion and that the conventional assumption that the buying price for a risky alternative is a reduction in the alternative's payoffs fails to describe behavior. Instead, it appears subjects predominately employed a segregation encoding process in which the buying price was encoded separately from the bet's payoffs and treated as a sure loss. However, an additional result was not explained adequately by either encoding model: Buying prices were less risk averse than choices for $3 expected value bets---creating preference reversals of the standard kind (Lichtenstein and Slovic 1971)---but more risk averse for $100 expected value bets---creating reverse preference reversals (Casey 1991). Implications for the scale compatibility principle (Tversky et al. 1988) are discussed. Two theoretical approaches are outlined which offer promise in the development of a unified model of price judgments and choice preferences under risk.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 40 (1994)
    Issue (Month): 6 (June)
    Pages: 730-749

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:40:y:1994:i:6:p:730-749
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:40:y:1994:i:6:p:730-749. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.