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Exploring the Nature of Loss Aversion

Author

Listed:
  • Eric Johnson

    (Columbia Business School, Columbia University)

  • Simon Gaechter

    (University of Nottingham)

  • Andreas Herrmann

    (Zentrum for Business Metrics, St.Gallen Universitaet)

Abstract

Loss aversion, the fact that losses have a greater impact than gains, is a fundamental property of behavioral accounts of choice. In this paper, we suggest four possible characterizations of the relative impact of losses and gains: (1) It could be a constant, such as the much cited value of 2, as in losses have twice the impact of gains. (2) It could be a systematic individual difference, with some individuals more or less loss aversion, (3) it could be a property of the attribute, or (4) a property of the different processes used to construct selling and buying prices. We examine the behavior of a large sample of auto buyers using an experiment which allows us to measure loss aversion, at the individual level for several different attributes. A set of hierarchical linear models shows that to understand loss aversion, one must consider the process used to construct prices. Interestingly, we show that knowledge of the attribute lowers loss aversion and that age and attribute importance increases loss aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Johnson & Simon Gaechter & Andreas Herrmann, 2006. "Exploring the Nature of Loss Aversion," Discussion Papers 2006-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdx:dpaper:2006-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-1260, June.
    2. Simon Gaechter & Eric Johnson & Andreas Herrmann, 2007. "Individual-Level Loss Aversion In Riskless And Risky Choices," Discussion Papers 2007-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    3. De Borger, Bruno & Fosgerau, Mogens, 2008. "The trade-off between money and travel time: A test of the theory of reference-dependent preferences," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 101-115, July.
    4. Bilgin, Baler, 2012. "Losses loom more likely than gains: Propensity to imagine losses increases their subjective probability," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 203-215.
    5. Masatlioglu, Yusufcan & Uler, Neslihan, 2013. "Understanding the reference effect," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 403-423.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory

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