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Learning to Like What You Have - Explaining the Endowment Effect

  • Steffen Huck

    (Humboldt University, Berlin)

  • Georg Kirchsteiger

    (CentER, Tilburg)

  • Joerg Oechssler

    (Humboldt University, Berlin)

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.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 9702001.

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Date of creation: 06 Feb 1997
Date of revision: 15 May 1997
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:9702001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Roth, Alvin E & Murnighan, J Keith, 1982. "The Role of Information in Bargaining: An Experimental Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1123-42, September.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Jeffrey C. Ely & Okan Yilankaya, 1997. "Nash Equilibrium and the Evolution of Preferences," Discussion Papers 1191, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. 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.
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  7. Joerg Oechssler & Frank Riedel, 1998. "Evolutionary Dynamics on Infinite Strategy Spaces," Game Theory and Information 9805002, EconWPA, revised 12 May 1998.
  8. Joerg Oechssler & Frank Riedel, 2000. "On the Dynamic Foundation of Evolutionary Stability in Continuous Models," Game Theory and Information 0004004, EconWPA.
  9. Knetsch, Jack L, 1989. "The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1277-84, December.
  10. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, June.
  11. Young H. P., 1993. "An Evolutionary Model of Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 145-168, February.
  12. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
  13. H. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley MacLeod, 1997. "Territorial Bargaining," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 343., Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. 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.
  15. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1990. "But They Don't Want to Reduce Housing Equity," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 13-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Heifetz, Aviad & Shannon, Chris & Spiegel, Yossi, 2002. "What to Maximize If You Must," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0hj6631n, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  17. Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2002. "What to Maximize if You Must," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000063, David K. Levine.
  18. Rajiv Sethi & E. Somanathan, 1999. "Preference Evolution and Reciprocity," Game Theory and Information 9903001, EconWPA, revised 12 Mar 1999.
  19. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 252, David K. Levine.
  20. Heifetz, Aviad & Shannon, Chris & Spiegel, Yossi, 2002. "What to Maximize If You Must," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt0300m6q8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
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  24. Knetsch, Jack L & Sinden, J A, 1987. "The Persistence of Evaluation Disparities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 691-95, August.
  25. Coursey, Don L & Hovis, John L & Schulze, William D, 1987. "The Disparity between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 679-90, August.
  26. Binmore, Ken & Morgan, Peter & Snaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1991. "Do people exploit their bargaining power? An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 295-322, August.
  27. Knetsch, Jack L & Sinden, J A, 1984. "Willingness to Pay and Compensation Demanded: Experimental Evidence of an Unexpected Disparity in Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 507-21, August.
  28. Ted To, 1999. "Risk and evolution," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 329-343.
  29. Iris Bohnet & Bruno S. Frey & Steffen Huck, . "More Order with Less Law: On Contract Enforcement, Trust, and Crowding," IEW - Working Papers 052, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  30. Hanemann, W Michael, 1991. "Willingness to Pay and Willingness to Accept: How Much Can They Differ?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 635-47, June.
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