IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Relative willingness to pay and surplus comparison mechanism in experimental auctions


  • COMBRIS Pierre
  • SEABRA PINTO Alexandra


We study the relative willingness-to-pay (WTP) of consumers according to the diversity of supply in a market and we show how the presence of substitutes for a given product leads to question the incentive mechanisms commonly used in experimental auctions. We propose a Surplus Comparison Mechanism (SCM) in order to yield WTP estimates which better take into account the choice set available to consumers. After showing the efficiency of this mechanism we test the SCM in a laboratory experiment, reconsidering WTP for food environmental certifications (Integrated Pest Management and Organic certification). It appears that WTPs are decreasing when more alternative certifications are offered to consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • COMBRIS Pierre & SEABRA PINTO Alexandra & GIRAUD HERAUD Eric, 2015. "Relative willingness to pay and surplus comparison mechanism in experimental auctions," Cahiers du GREThA 2015-20, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  • Handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2015-20

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simonson, Itamar, 1989. " Choice Based on Reasons: The Case of Attraction and Compromise Effects," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 158-174, September.
    2. Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Salience and Consumer Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(5), pages 803-843.
    3. Cohen, Joel B & Basu, Kunal, 1987. " Alternative Models of Categorization: Toward a Contingent Processing Framework," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 455-472, March.
    4. Horowitz, John K., 2006. "The Becker-DeGroot-Marschak mechanism is not necessarily incentive compatible, even for non-random goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 6-11, October.
    5. Frode Alfnes, 2009. "Valuing product attributes in Vickrey auctions when market substitutes are available," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 36(2), pages 133-149, June.
    6. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    7. Lusk, Jayson L. & House, Lisa O. & Valli, Carlotta & Jaeger, Sara R. & Moore, Melissa & Morrow, Bert & Traill, W. Bruce, 2005. "Consumer welfare effects of introducing and labeling genetically modified food," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 382-388, September.
    8. Ty Feldkamp & Ted C. Schroeder, 2004. "Experimental Auction Procedure: Impact on Valuation of Quality Differentiated Goods," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(2), pages 389-405.
    9. Lusk, Jayson L. & Jamal, Mustafa & Kurlander, Lauren & Roucan, Maud & Taulman, Lesley, 2005. "A Meta-Analysis of Genetically Modified Food Valuation Studies," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 30(01), April.
    10. Bazerman, Max H. & Moore, Don A. & Tenbrunsel, Ann E. & Wade-Benzoni, Kimberly A. & Blount, Sally, 1999. "Explaining how preferences change across joint versus separate evaluation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 41-58, May.
    11. Huber, Joel & Payne, John W & Puto, Christopher, 1982. " Adding Asymmetrically Dominated Alternatives: Violations of Regularity and the Similarity Hypothesis," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 90-98, June.
    12. Charles Noussair & StÈphane Robin & Bernard Ruffieux, 2004. "Do Consumers Really Refuse To Buy Genetically Modified Food?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 102-120, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Experimental Auctions; Willingness to pay; Consumers’ surplus; Choice alternatives; Food certification.;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:grt:wpegrt:2015-20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Valerio Sterzi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.