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Discounts and Consumer Search Behavior: The Role of Framing

  • Ralph-C Bayer
  • Changxia Ke

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.

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File URL: http://www.tax.mpg.de/RePEc/mpi/wpaper/Tax-MPG-RPS-2011-11.pdf
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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance in its series Working Papers with number discounts_and_consumer_search_behavior.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:mpi:wpaper:discounts_and_consumer_search_behavior
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