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A Test for Anchoring and Yea-Saying in Experimental Consumption Data

  • Arthur van Soest
  • Michael Hurd

In the experimental module of the AHEAD 1995 data, the sample is randomly split into respondents who get an open-ended question on the amount of total family consumption - with follow-up unfolding brackets (of the form: is consumption $X or more?) for those who answer "donÕt know" or "refuse" - and respondents who are immediately directed to unfolding brackets. In both cases, the entry point of the unfolding bracket sequence is randomized. These data are used to develop a nonparametric test for whether people make mistakes in answering the first bracket question, allowing for any type of selection into answering the open-ended question or not. Two well-known types of mistakes are considered: anchoring and yea-saying (or acquiescence). While the literature provides ample evidence that the entry point in the first bracket question serves as an anchor for follow-up bracket questions, it is less clear whether the answers to the first bracket question are already affected by anchoring. We reject the joint hypothesis of no anchoring and no yea-saying at the entry point. Once yea-saying is taken into account, there is no evidence of anchoring.

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Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 147.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:147
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  1. Matthew Rabin., 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Economics Working Papers 97-251, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Trudy Ann Cameron & John Quiggin, 1992. "Estimation Using Contingent Valuation Data From a "Dichotomous Choice with Follow-Up" Questionnaire," UCLA Economics Working Papers 653, UCLA Department of Economics.
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