A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences
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 Amos Tversky and Daniel 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. Coauthors are Alistair Munro, Bruce Rhodes, Chris Starmer, and Robert Sugden. Copyright 1997, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Volume (Year): 112 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
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