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A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences

Author

Listed:
  • Ian Bateman
  • Alistair Munro
  • Bruce Rhodes
  • Chris Starmer
  • Robert Sugden

Abstract

Eight alternative methods of eliciting preferences between money and a consumption good are identified: two of these are standard willingness-to-accept and willingness-to-pay measures. These methods differ with respect to the reference point used and the dimension in which responses are expressed. The loss aversion hypothesis of Tversky and Kahneman's theory of reference-dependent preferences predicts systematic differences between the preferences elicited by these methods. These predictions are tested by eliciting individuals' preferences for two private consumption goods; the experimental design is incentive-compatible and controls for income and substitution effects. The theory's predictions are broadly confirmed.

Suggested Citation

  • Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro & Bruce Rhodes & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1997. "A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 479-505.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:2:p:479-505.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355397555262
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