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Manipulating Reference States: the Effect of Attitudes on Utility

Author

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  • Astrid Matthey

    () (Max-Planck-Institute of Economics)

Abstract

In economic theory, utility depends on past, present and future outcomes. The experiment described in this paper suggests that utility also depends on people's attitudes, and that it can easily be manipulated through these attitudes. The results imply, ?rst, that purely outcome-based models of individual utility may be incomplete. Second, that reference-states are not determined completely endogenously but can be influenced from outside. And third, that experiments in economics may be sensitive to subtle details of the experimental design.

Suggested Citation

  • Astrid Matthey, 2008. "Manipulating Reference States: the Effect of Attitudes on Utility," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-044, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2008-044
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    File URL: http://zs.thulb.uni-jena.de/receive/jportal_jparticle_00101341
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    utility; reference state; attitudes; priming; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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