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A Dynamic Explanation of the Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept Disparity

Author

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  • Catherine L. Kling
  • John A. List
  • Jinhua Zhao

Abstract

Evidence from laboratory experiments suggests that important disparities exist between willingness to pay (WTP) and compensation demanded for the same good. This study advances, and experimentally tests, a new explanation of the WTP/WTA disparity--a dynamic theory based on the presence of commitment costs. We find that the commitment cost theory combined with a simple behavioral anomaly is able to lend insights into the causes and severity of the WTA/WTP disparity. Further, we find that market experience attenuates the behavioral anomaly, consistent with the notion that no value disparity exists for agents with sufficient market experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Catherine L. Kling & John A. List & Jinhua Zhao, 2010. "A Dynamic Explanation of the Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept Disparity," NBER Working Papers 16483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16483
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shogren, Jason F. & Margolis, Michael & Koo, Cannon & List, John A., 2001. "A random nth-price auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 409-421, December.
    2. Zhao, Jinhua & Kling, Catherine L., 2001. "A new explanation for the WTP/WTA disparity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 293-300, December.
    3. Jinhua Zhao & Catherine L. Kling, 2004. "Willingness to Pay, Compensating Variation, and the Cost of Commitment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(3), pages 503-517, July.
    4. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71.
    5. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
    6. Horowitz, John K. & McConnell, K. E., 2003. "Willingness to accept, willingness to pay and the income effect," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 537-545, August.
    7. John A. List, 2002. "Preference Reversals of a Different Kind: The "More Is Less" Phenomenon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1636-1643, December.
    8. Knez, Peter & Smith, Vernon L & Williams, Arlington W, 1985. "Individual Rationality, Market Rationality, and Value Estimation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 397-402, May.
    9. Brookshire, David S & Coursey, Don L, 1987. "Measuring the Value of a Public Good: An Empirical Comparison of Elicitation Procedures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 554-566, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lunn,Pete & Lunn, Mary, 2014. "What Can I Get For It? The Relationship Between the Choice Equivalent, Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay," Papers WP479, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. Lunn, Pete & Lunn, Mary, 2014. "A Computational Theory of Willingness to Exchange," Papers WP477, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    3. John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2013. "Using Field Experiments in Environmental and Resource Economics," NBER Working Papers 19289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bazzani, Claudia & Caputo, Vincenzina & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Canavari, Maurizio, 2015. "Testing commitment cost in food choices: a non-hypothetical choice experiment approach," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205235, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    5. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:1:p:383-396 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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