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AStudyof Consumer Behavior Using Laboratory Data

  • Philippe Février


  • Michael Visser


This paper reports the results of an experiment on individual consumer behavior. The experiment was designed to address the following questions. Do participants behave as utility-maximizing agents? Are there variables (socio-economic characteristics, experimental conditions) that have an effect on the probability of being non-rational? And finally, to what extent does the presence of non-rational individuals affect the estimation results of demand equations? Revealed preference tests indicate that 29% of the individuals do not behave as utility-maximizing agents. Gender and the times spent on performing experimental tasks have a significant effect on the likelihood of being non-rational, but the level of remuneration does not. The estimation results of some commonly used demand systems and tests of the Slutsky restrictions are affected by the presence of non-rational individuals in the experimental sample.

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Paper provided by Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique in its series Working Papers with number 2000-12.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2000-12
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  1. Varian, Hal R., 1988. "Revealed preference with a subset of goods," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 179-185, October.
  2. Battalio, Raymond C & Dwyer, Gerald P, Jr & Kagel, John H, 1987. "Tests of Competing Theories of Consumer Choice and the Representative Consumer Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388), pages 842-56, December.
  3. Sippel, Reinhard, 1997. "An Experiment on the Pure Theory of Consumer's Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1431-44, September.
  4. Blundell, Richard & Pashardes, Panos & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "What Do We Learn About Consumer Demand Patterns from Micro Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 570-97, June.
  5. Reinhard Sippel, 1996. "A Note on the Power of Revealed Preference Tests with Afriat Inefficiency," Discussion Paper Serie A 303 DP No. A--528, University of Bonn, Germany.
  6. Philippe Février & Michael Visser, 2004. "A Study of Consumer Behavior Using Laboratory Data," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 93-114, February.
  7. John Kagel & Leonard Green & Raymond Battalio, 1995. "Economic choice theory. an experimental analysis of animal behavior," Framed Field Experiments 00166, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. Cox, James C, 1997. "On Testing the Utility Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1054-78, July.
  9. Varian, Hal R, 1983. "Non-Parametric Tests of Consumer Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 99-110, January.
  10. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
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