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Pavlovian Processes in Consumer Choice: The Physical Presence of a Good Increases Willingness-to-Pay

Bushong, Benjamin and King, Lindsay M. and Camerer, Colin F. and Rangel, Antonio (2010) Pavlovian Processes in Consumer Choice: The Physical Presence of a Good Increases Willingness-to-Pay. American Economic Review, 100 (4). pp. 1556-1571. ISSN 0002-8282. doi:10.1257/aer.100.4.1556.

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This paper describes a series of laboratory experiments studying whether the form in which items are displayed at the time of decision affects the dollar value that subjects place on them. Using a Becker-DeGroot auction under three different conditions — (i) text displays, (ii) image displays, and (iii) displays of the actual items — we find that subjects' willingness-to-pay is 40-61 percent larger in the real than in the image and text displays. Furthermore, follow-up experiments suggest the presence of the real item triggers preprogrammed consummatory Pavlovian processes that promote behaviors that lead to contact with appetitive items whenever they are available.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
Camerer, Colin F.0000-0003-4049-1871
Additional Information:© 2010 American Economic Association. We would like to thank Yuval Rottenstreich for his extremely useful feedback on various aspects of the paper. Financial support from the Moore Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:4
Classification Code:JEL Classifications: C91, D03, D12, D87.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110217-073611915
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Bushong, Benjamin, Lindsay M. King, Colin F. Camerer, and Antonio Rangel. 2010. "Pavlovian Processes in Consumer Choice: The Physical Presence of a Good Increases Willingness-to-Pay." American Economic Review, 100(4): 1556–71. DOI:10.1257/aer.100.4.1556
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:22272
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Mar 2011 00:23
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:04

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