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When Being Wasteful is Better than Feeling Wasteful

Author

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  • Ro'i Zultan
  • Maya Bar-Hillel
  • Nitsan Guy

Abstract

"Waste not want not" expresses our culture's aversion to waste. "I could have gotten the same thing for less" is a sentiment that can diminish pleasure in a transaction. We study people's willingness to "pay" to avoid this spoiler. In one scenario, participants imagined they were looking for a rental apartment, and had bought a subscription to an apartment listing. If a cheaper subscription had been declined, respondents preferred not to discover post hoc that it would have sufficed. Specifically, they preferred ending their quest for the ideal apartment after seeing more, rather than fewer, apartments. Other scenarios produced similar results. We conclude that people may sometimes prefer to be wasteful in order to avoid feeling wasteful.

Suggested Citation

  • Ro'i Zultan & Maya Bar-Hillel & Nitsan Guy, 2010. "When Being Wasteful is Better than Feeling Wasteful," Discussion Paper Series dp550, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp550
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Goldstein, Robin & Almenberg, Johan & Dreber, Anna & Emerson, John W. & Herschkowitsch, Alexis & Katz, Jacob, 2008. "Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better? Evidence from a Large Sample of Blind Tastings," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 1-9, March.
    2. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    3. Levin, Irwin P & Gaeth, Gary J, 1988. " How Consumers Are Affected by the Framing of Attribute Information before and after Consuming the Product," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 374-378, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

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