EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Do consumers make too much effort to save on cheap items and too little to save on expensive items? experimental results and implications for business strategy

Ofer Azar

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: The article presents an experiment that illustrates a behavior that I denote “relative thinking.” Subjects in the experiment revealed the minimal price difference for which they were willing to spend 20 minutes and go to a cheaper store. Five different goods and nine different prices were used in a between-subjects design. Subjects showed striking positive correlation between the good’s price and their valuation of their time as it was reflected in their decisions. The experiment suggests that subjects think about both the relative and the absolute price differences, even though according to economic theory they should only consider the absolute price difference. Quantifying the effect suggests that consumers’ valuation of their time is approximately proportional to the square root of the price of the good they want to purchase. Studying economics courses seems to mitigate relative thinking. Several alternative explanations for the observed behavior are suggested and discussed, but the conclusion is that only the relative thinking explanation can account for the experimental results. Finally, several implications of relative thinking for business strategy are discussed.

Keywords: Relative thinking; Consumer behavior; Behavioral economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 D10 M10 M30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cse, nep-exp and nep-mkt
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

Downloads: (external link)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/20962/1/MPRA_paper_20962.pdf original version (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pra:mprapa:20962

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Joachim Winter ().

 
Page updated 2024-03-31
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20962