How do people value extended warranties?: Evidence from two field surveys
Extended warranties are popular but expensive. This paper examines how consumers value these warranties, and asks whether economic considerations alone can account for their popularity. Results from two field surveys show that consumers greatly overestimate both the likelihood and the cost of product breakdown. However, these biases alone do not explain their willingness to buy them. In fact, we find evidence of probability neglect, in which warranty purchase decision depends on the magnitude of the possible consequences of not having insurance and not on the probability of having to suffer these consequences. The expected emotional benefits ("peace of mind") from having a warranty was the best predictor of purchase decision and willingness to pay. We also found that people with higher numeracy and cognitive skills are less likely to overestimate the economic determinants of warranty value, yet are still highly influenced by emotional considerations when deciding whether to purchase a warranty. We conclude by arguing that consumer welfare could be improved by increasing the competitive intensity in the market for warranties.
|Date of creation:||01 Jun 2008|
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- Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006.
"Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
- Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Laibson, David I. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," Scholarly Articles 4554333, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson & Guillermo Moloche & Stephen Weinberg, 2005. "Information Acquisition: Experimental Analysis of a Boundedly Rational Model," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000480, UCLA Department of Economics.
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- Hanming Fang & Michael P. Keane & Dan Silverman, 2006. "Sources of Advantageous Selection: Evidence from the Medigap Insurance Market," NBER Working Papers 12289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Fang, Hanming & Keane, Michael & Silverman, Dan, 2006. "Sources of Advantageous Selection: Evidence from the Medigap Insurance Market," Working Papers 17, Yale University, Department of Economics.
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