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Loss Aversion and Consumption Choice: Theory and Experimental Evidence

Author

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  • Karle, Heiko
  • Kirchsteiger, Georg
  • Peitz, Martin

Abstract

In this paper we analyze a consumer choice model with price uncertainty, loss aversion, and expectation-based reference points. The implications of this model are tested in an experiment in which participants have to make a consumption choice between two sandwiches. We make use of the fact that participants diff er in their reported taste difference between the two sandwiches and the degree of loss aversion which we measure separately. We find that more loss-averse participants are more likely to opt for the cheaper sandwich provided that their reported taste difference is below some threshold, confirming the model’s predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Karle, Heiko & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Peitz, Martin, 2012. "Loss Aversion and Consumption Choice: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 9183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9183
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thierry Post & Martijn J. van den Assem & Guido Baltussen & Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 38-71, March.
    2. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    3. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    4. Jidong Zhou, 2011. "Reference Dependence and Market Competition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 1073-1097, December.
    5. Heiko Karle, 2013. "Creating Attachment through Advertising: Loss Aversion and Pre–Purchase Information," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 13/177, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    6. Heiko Karle & Martin Peitz, 2014. "Competition under consumer loss aversion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(1), pages 1-31, March.
    7. Botond Kőszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165.
    8. Kobberling, Veronika & Wakker, Peter P., 2005. "An index of loss aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 119-131, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heiko Karle & Martin Peitz, 2014. "Competition under consumer loss aversion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(1), pages 1-31, March.
    2. repec:eee:eecrev:v:105:y:2018:i:c:p:1-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Karle, Heiko & Peitz, Martin, 2017. "De-targeting: Advertising an assortment of products to loss-averse consumers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 103-124.
    4. Jean-Michel Benkert, 2015. "Bilateral trade with loss-averse agents," ECON - Working Papers 188, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Sep 2016.
    5. Rosato, Antonio & Tymula, Agnieszka A., 2019. "Loss aversion and competition in Vickrey auctions: Money ain't no good," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 188-208.
    6. repec:eee:eejocm:v:28:y:2018:i:c:p:71-81 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Wenner, Lukas M., 2015. "Expected prices as reference points—Theory and experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 60-79.
    8. Ahrens, Steffen & Pirschel, Inske & Snower, Dennis J., 2017. "A theory of price adjustment under loss aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 78-95.
    9. Herweg, Fabian & Karle, Heiko & Müller, Daniel, 2018. "Incomplete contracting, renegotiation, and expectation-based loss aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 176-201.
    10. Antonio Rosato, 2016. "Selling substitute goods to loss-averse consumers: limited availability, bargains, and rip-offs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 47(3), pages 709-733, August.
    11. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:s1:p:103-115 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:eee:jetheo:v:178:y:2018:i:c:p:551-594 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Ghidoni, Riccardo & Calzolari, Giacomo & Casari, Marco, 2017. "Climate change: Behavioral responses from extreme events and delayed damages," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(S1), pages 103-115.
    14. Rosato, Antonio, 2017. "Sequential negotiations with loss-averse buyers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 290-304.
    15. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:681-705 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Wenner, Lukas, 2014. "Expected prices as reference points: Theory and experiments," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2014-306, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    17. Rosato, Antonio, 2014. "Loss Aversion in Sequential Auctions: Endogenous Interdependence, Informational Externalities and the "Afternoon Effect"," MPRA Paper 56824, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:165-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:eee:jeborg:v:147:y:2018:i:c:p:129-144 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contextual Reference Points; Loss Aversion; Reference-Dependent Utility;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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