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Learning to Like What You Have - Explaining the Endowment Effect

Author

Listed:
  • Steffen Huck

    (Humboldt University, Berlin)

  • Georg Kirchsteiger

    (CentER, Tilburg)

  • Joerg Oechssler

    (Humboldt University, Berlin)

Abstract

The endowment effect describes the fact that people demand much more to give up an object than they are willing to spend to acquire it. The existence of this effect has been documented in numerous experiments. We attempt to explain this effect by showing that evolution favors individuals whose preferences embody an endowment effect. The reason is that an endowment effect improves one's bargaining position in bilateral trades. We show that for a general class of evolutionary processes almost all individuals will have a strictly positive and finite endowment effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Steffen Huck & Georg Kirchsteiger & Joerg Oechssler, 1997. "Learning to Like What You Have - Explaining the Endowment Effect," Game Theory and Information 9702001, EconWPA, revised 15 May 1997.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:9702001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jack L. Knetsch & J. A. Sinden, 1984. "Willingness to Pay and Compensation Demanded: Experimental Evidence of an Unexpected Disparity in Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(3), pages 507-521.
    2. Cressman, R. & Schlag, K. H., 1998. "The Dynamic (In)Stability of Backwards Induction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 260-285, December.
    3. Young H. P., 1993. "An Evolutionary Model of Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 145-168, February.
    4. Cressman, R. & Schlag, K. H., 1998. "The Dynamic (In)Stability of Backwards Induction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 260-285, December.
    5. Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jorg, 1999. "The Indirect Evolutionary Approach to Explaining Fair Allocations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 13-24, July.
    6. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
    7. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, January.
    8. Ted To, 1999. "Risk and evolution," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), pages 329-343.
    9. Don L. Coursey & John L. Hovis & William D. Schulze, 1987. "The Disparity Between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 679-690.
    10. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
    11. Jack L. Knetsch & J. A. Sinden, 1987. "The Persistence of Evaluation Disparities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 691-695.
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    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games

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