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Bidding for Nothing? The Pitfalls of overly Neutral Framing

Peter Dürsch and Julia Müller ()

No 14-063/I, Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers from Tinbergen Institute

Abstract: Neutral framing is a standard tool of experimental economics. However, overly neutral instructions, which lack any contextual clues, can lead to strange behavior. In a contextless second price auction for a meaningless good, a majority of subjects enter positive bids - a case of cognitive experimenter demand effect. Subjects bid positive amounts because this is what they think they are tasked with in the experiment. Adding a second auction that has a context drastically reduces the positive bids in the meaningless first auction by reducing the cognitive experimenter demand effect.

Keywords: Context; Neutral Framing; Experimenter Demand Effect; Experiment; Second-Price Auction (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C90 D44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-05-25
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp
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