IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Searching for the Sunk Cost Fallacy

  • Daniel Friedman

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Kai Pommerenke

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Rajan Lukose

    (HP Labs)

  • Garret Milam

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Bernardo A. Huberman

    (HP Labs)

We seek to isolate in the laboratory factors that encourage and discourage the sunk cost fallacy. Subjects play a computer game in which they decide whether to keep digging for treasure on an island or to sink a cost (which will turn out to be either high or low) to move to another island. The research hypothesis is that subjects will stay longer on islands that were more costly to find. Nine treatment variables are considered, e.g. alternative visual displays, whether the treasure value of an island is shown on arrival or discovered by trial and error, and alternative parameters for sunk costs. The data reveal a surprisingly small and erratic sunk cost effect that is generally insensitive to the proposed psychological drivers.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/exp/papers/0407/0407008.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Experimental with number 0407008.

as
in new window

Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 29 Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0407008
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 30
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Kogut, Carl A., 1990. "Consumer search behavior and sunk costs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 381-392, December.
  2. Cox, James C & Oaxaca, Ronald L, 1989. " Laboratory Experiments with a Finite-Horizon Job-Search Model," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 301-29, September.
  3. Heath, Chip, 1995. "Escalation and De-escalation of Commitment in Response to Sunk Costs: The Role of Budgeting in Mental Accounting," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 38-54, April.
  4. Hey, John D., 1982. "Search for rules for search," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 65-81, March.
  5. Camerer, Colin F. & Weber, Roberto A., 1998. "The Econometrics and Behavioral Economics of Escalation of Commitment: A Re-examination of Staw and Hoang's NBA Data," Working Papers 1043, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. Matthew Rabin., 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Economics Working Papers 97-251, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521456821 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Whyte, Glen, 1993. "Escalating Commitment in Individual and Group Decision Making: A Prospect Theory Approach," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 430-455, April.
  9. Garland, Howard & Newport, Stephanie, 1991. "Effects of absolute and relative sunk costs on the decision to persist with a course of action," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 55-69, February.
  10. Theo Offerman & Jan Potters, 2006. "Does Auctioning of Entry Licences Induce Collusion? An Experimental Study," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 769-791.
  11. Sonnemans, Joep, 1998. "Strategies of search," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 309-332, April.
  12. Meyer, Donald J., 1993. "First price auctions with entry: An experimental investigation," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 107-122.
  13. Harrison, Glenn W & Morgan, Peter, 1990. "Search Intensity in Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 478-86, June.
  14. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2003. "Caring About Sunk Costs: A Behavioral Solution to Holdup Problems with Small Stakes," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 106-118, April.
  15. Arkes, Hal R. & Blumer, Catherine, 1985. "The psychology of sunk cost," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 124-140, February.
  16. Tan, Hun-Tong & Yates, J. Frank, 1995. "Sunk Cost Effects: The Influences of Instruction and Future Return Estimates," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 311-319, September.
  17. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 5474.
  18. Sonnemans, Joep, 2000. "Decisions and strategies in a sequential search experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 91-102, February.
  19. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  20. Schotter, Andrew & Braunstein, Yale M, 1981. "Economic Search: An Experimental Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 19(1), pages 1-25, January.
  21. Hey, John D., 1987. "Still searching," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 137-144, March.
  22. Cox, James C & Oaxaca, Ronald L, 1992. "Direct Tests of the Reservation Wage Property," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(415), pages 1423-32, November.
  23. Parayre, Roch, 1995. "The strategic implications of sunk costs: A behavioral perspective," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 417-442, December.
  24. Northcraft, Gregory B. & Neale, Margaret A., 1986. "Opportunity costs and the framing of resource allocation decisions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 348-356, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0407008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.