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Discounts and Consumer Search Behavior: The Role of Framing

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  • Ralph-C Bayer
  • Changxia Ke

Abstract

We implement a simple two-shop search model in the laboratory with the aim of testing if consumers behave differently in equivalent situations, where prices are displayed either as net prices or as gross prices with discounts. We compare search behavior in base treatments (where both shops post net prices without discounts) to discount treatments (where either the first shop or the second shop posts gross prices with separate discount offers). We find that subjects search less in both treatments with discount frames irrespective where the discount is offered. We argue that this bias results from subjects basing their decisions on salient characteristics of the situation rather than on objective price distributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralph-C Bayer & Changxia Ke, 2011. "Discounts and Consumer Search Behavior: The Role of Framing," Working Papers discounts_and_consumer_se, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:mpi:wpaper:discounts_and_consumer_search_behavior
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    Cited by:

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    2. Fochmann, Martin & Hemmerich, Kristina & Kiesewetter, Dirk, 2016. "Intrinsic and extrinsic effects on behavioral tax biases in risky investment decisions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 218-231.
    3. Weiqing Li & Qianyi Dan & Maomao Chi & Weijun Wang, 2021. "Influence of Price Level and Perceived Price Dispersion on Consumer Information Search Behaviour: Moderating Effect of Durables and Consumables," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(4), pages 1-13, February.
    4. Fabrizi, Simona & Lippert, Steffen & Puppe, Clemens & Rosenkranz, Stephanie, 2016. "Manufacturer suggested retail prices, loss aversion and competition," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 141-153.
    5. Kops, Christopher & Pasichnichenko, Illia, 2023. "Testing negative value of information and ambiguity aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 213(C).
    6. Jean-Pierre I. Rest & Alan M. Sears & Li Miao & Lorna Wang, 2020. "A note on the future of personalized pricing: cause for concern," Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 19(2), pages 113-118, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumer Search; Price Framing; Price Discounts; Competition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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