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Testing the strength and robustness of the attraction effect in consumer decision making

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  • Paolo Crosetto

    () (University of Grenoble)

  • Alexia Gaudeul

    () (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)

Abstract

We report the results of an original experiment that was designed to test the strength and robustness of the attraction effect. Rather than the usual simple tests for this effect, we consider a conceptually simple consumer purchasing task where alternatives are however difficult to evaluate. For the attraction effect to be observed, the consumer must go through two steps: the first is to find out that two or more options are comparable, which leads him to exclude the dominated alternatives. The second is to favor the dominant option over those that are not comparable. Our experiment allows us to determine whether and how many individuals stop before each of those two steps. The results confirm the existence of an attraction effect in our setting, but the effect is not strong. Indeed, only a minority of subjects perform the second step. The effect is not robust to introducing larger differences in prices among options and to widening the range of options to choose from. We conclude by showing that our subjects would benefit from relying more on performing asymmetric dominance editing rather than on their skills in the purchasing task.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Crosetto & Alexia Gaudeul, 2014. "Testing the strength and robustness of the attraction effect in consumer decision making," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-021, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2014-021
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Crosetto, Paolo & Gaudeul, Alexia, 2016. "A monetary measure of the strength and robustness of the attraction effect," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 38-43.
    2. Paolo Crosetto & Alexia Gaudeul, 2014. "Choosing whether to compete: Price and format competition with consumer confusion," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-026, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Robert Sugden & Jiwei Zheng, 2015. "Do consumers take advantage of common pricing standards? An experimental investigation," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 15-12, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    4. Abeler, Johannes & Jäger, Simon, 2013. "Complex Tax Incentives: An Experimental Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 7373, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asymmetric Dominance Editing; Attraction Effect; Comparability; Consumer Choice; Experimental Economics; Pricing Formats;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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