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A Computational Theory of Willingness to Exchange

  • Lunn, Pete
  • Lunn, Mary

A new model of exchange is presented following Marr's conception of a "computational theory". The model combines assumptions from perceptual theory and economic theory to develop a highly generalised formal model. The approach departs from previous models by focussing not on how ownership alters preferences, but instead on difficulties inherent in the process of exchange in real markets. Agents treat their own perceptual uncertainty when valuing a potential exchange item as a signal regarding the variability of potential bids and offers. The analysis shows how optimising agents, with no aversion to risk or loss, will produce an endowment effect of variable degree, in line with empirical findings. The model implies that the endowment effect is not a laboratory finding that may not occur in real markets, but rather a market phenomenon that may not occur in the laboratory.

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Paper provided by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP477.

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Date of creation: Jan 2014
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Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp477
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  1. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2012. "Salience in Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect," NBER Working Papers 17761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Franciosi, Robert & Kujal, Praveen & Michelitsch, Roland & Smith, Vernon & Deng, Gang, 1996. "Experimental tests of the endowment effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 213-226, August.
  3. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. John A. List, 2003. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," NBER Working Papers 9736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, Kenneth E., 2002. "A Review of WTA/WTP Studies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 426-447, November.
  6. Kling, Catherine L. & List, John & Zhao, Jinhua, 2011. "A Dynamic Explanation of the Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept Disparity," Staff General Research Papers 33895, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. Bateman, Ian & Kahneman, Daniel & Munro, Alistair & Starmer, Chris & Sugden, Robert, 2005. "Testing competing models of loss aversion: an adversarial collaboration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1561-1580, August.
  8. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2004. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0407001, EconWPA.
  9. Graham Loomes & Shepley Orr & Robert Sugden, 2009. "Taste uncertainty and status quo effects in consumer choice," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 113-135, October.
  10. Charles R. Plott & Kathryn Zeiler, 2005. "The Willingness to Pay–Willingness to Accept Gap, the "Endowment Effect," Subject Misconceptions, and Experimental Procedures for Eliciting Valuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 530-545, June.
  11. Sayman, Serdar & Onculer, Ayse, 2005. "Effects of study design characteristics on the WTA-WTP disparity: A meta analytical framework," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 289-312, April.
  12. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
  13. Jennifer F. Reinganum, 1978. "A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Discussion Papers 335, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Andrea Isoni & Graham Loomes & Robert Sugden, 2011. "The Willingness to Pay—Willingness to Accept Gap, the "Endowment Effect," Subject Misconceptions, and Experimental Procedures for Eliciting Valuations: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 991-1011, April.
  15. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  16. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Andreas Fuster, 2014. "The Endowment Effect," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 555-579, 08.
  17. Nathaniel J. S. Ashby & Stephan Dickert & Andreas Glockner, 2012. "Focusing on what you own: Biased information uptake due to ownership," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(3), pages 254-267, May.
  18. Shogren, Jason F. & Seung Y. Shin & Dermot J. Hayes & James B. Kliebenstein, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 255-70, March.
  19. William J. Matthews & Neil Stewart, 2009. "Psychophysics and the judgment of price: Judging complex objects on a non-physical dimension elicits sequential effects like those in perceptual tasks," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 4(1), pages 64-81, February.
  20. Charles R. Plott & Kathryn Zeiler, 2007. "Exchange Asymmetries Incorrectly Interpreted as Evidence of Endowment Effect Theory and Prospect Theory?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1449-1466, September.
  21. Knetsch, Jack L, 1989. "The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1277-84, December.
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