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Being in the Right Place: A Natural Field Experiment on List Position and Consumer Choice

  • Novarese, Marco
  • Wilson, Chris M.

By randomising the order in which new economics research papers are presented in email alerts and tracking economists’ subsequent download activity, this paper uses a natural field experiment to better understand the reasons why individuals show a disproportionate tendency to select items listed in top position. Using a novel method, the paper tests and rejects three common explanations regarding item order, choice fatigue and position as a quality signal. The paper then further demonstrates how the causes of top position effects vary significantly with list length, and points to some alternative explanations.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/48074/1/MPRA_paper_48074.pdf
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 48074.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:48074
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Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

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  1. Baye, Michael R & Gatti, J. Rupert J & Kattuman, Paul & Morgan, John, 2006. "Clicks, Discontinuities, and Firm Demand Online," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt3qg7270w, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Victor A. Ginsburgh & Jan C. van Ours, 2003. "Expert Opinion and Compensation: Evidence from a Musical Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 289-296, March.
  3. Michael R. Baye & Babur De los Santos & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2012. "What's in a Name? Measuring Prominence, and its Impact on Organic Traffic from Search Engines," Working Papers 2012-09, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  4. Tom Coupé & Victor Ginsburgh & Abdul Ghafar Noury, 2008. "Are Leading Papers of Better Quality? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Papers ECARES 2008_014, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Ryan C. McDevitt, 2014. "“A” Business by Any Other Name: Firm Name Choice as a Signal of Firm Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(4), pages 909 - 944.
  6. Haan, Marco & Dijkstra, Gerhard & Dijkstra, Peter, 2003. "Expert judgment versus public opinion - evidence from the Eurovision Song Contest," Research Report 03F12, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  7. Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search in Electronic Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(10), pages 1605-1622, October.
  8. Michael D. Smith & Erik Brynjolfsson, 2001. "Consumer Decision-making at an Internet Shopbot: Brand Still Matters," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 541-558 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jonathan Levav & Mark Heitmann & Andreas Herrmann & Sheena S. Iyengar, 2010. "Order in Product Customization Decisions: Evidence from Field Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 274-299, 04.
  10. Elena Reutskaja & Rosemarie Nagel & Colin F. Camerer & Antonio Rangel, 2011. "Search Dynamics in Consumer Choice under Time Pressure: An Eye-Tracking Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 900-926, April.
  11. Amy King & Andrew Leigh, 2009. "Are Ballot Order Effects Heterogeneous?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(1), pages 71-87.
  12. Yuval Salant, 2011. "Procedural Analysis of Choice Rules with Applications to Bounded Rationality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 724-48, April.
  13. Mark Armstrong & John Vickers & Jidong Zhou, 2009. "Prominence and consumer search," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 209-233.
  14. Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search and Cross-Selling in Electronic Markets," Working Papers 07-35, NET Institute, revised Sep 2007.
  15. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Krichel, Thomas, 2010. "The creation of internet communities: A brief history of on-line distribution of working papers through NEP, 1998-2010," MPRA Paper 27085, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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