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What Can I Get For It? The Relationship Between the Choice Equivalent, Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay

  • Lunn,Pete
  • Lunn, Mary

We hypothesise and confirm a novel empirical result concerning the willingness to accept (WTA)-willingness to pay (WTP) disparity. Employing data from what has become the classic experimental design, we reveal systematic variation in the relative magnitudes of three valuations: WTA, WTP and choice equivalent (CE). Individuals with low CE relative to others set a proportionally higher WTA, while those with high CE set a proportionally lower WTP. The effect size is substantial in relation to the WTA-WTP disparity itself. These results are predicted by a model in which subjects behave as if maximising surplus over a sequence of exchange encounters, as typifies real exchanges outside the laboratory. They are at odds with models based on loss aversion, which either predict constant relativities between the three valuations or the opposite of the pattern observed.

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Paper provided by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP479.

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Date of creation: Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp479
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Charles R. Plott & Kathryn Zeiler, 2011. "The Willingness to Pay--Willingness to Accept Gap, the "Endowment Effect," Subject Misconceptions, and Experimental Procedures for Eliciting Valuations: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 1012-28, April.
  4. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Andreas Fuster, 2014. "The Endowment Effect," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 555-579, 08.
  5. John List, 2006. "Using hicksian surplus measures to examine consistency of individual preferences: Evidence from a field experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00177, The Field Experiments Website.
  6. 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.
  7. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  8. 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.
  9. Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165, November.
  10. Shogren, Jason F. & Shin, Seung Youll & Hayes, Dermot J. & Kliebenstein, James, 1994. "Resolving Differences in Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept," Staff General Research Papers 701, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. Dirk Engelmann & Guillaume Hollard, 2010. "Reconsidering the Effect of Market Experience on the "Endowment Effect"," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00633557, HAL.
  13. Dirk Engelmann & Guillaume Hollard, 2010. "Reconsidering the Effect of Market Experience on the “Endowment Effect”," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(6), pages 2005-2019, November.
  14. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  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. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Brown, Thomas C., 2005. "Loss aversion without the endowment effect, and other explanations for the WTA-WTP disparity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 367-379, July.
  19. Lunn, Pete & Lunn, Mary, 2014. "A Computational Theory of Willingness to Exchange," Papers WP477, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
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