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A Social Perception Theory of the Endowment Effect

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Abstract

In nine experiments (total N = 2107, with British, French, and U.S. American participants), this paper proposes and tests a social perception theory of the endowment effect. First, the authors show that buyers are more likely to focus on themselves, and that sellers are more likely to focus on buyers. Then, the authors show that the endowment effect is mediated by misperceptions that sellers have about buyers’ features. Sellers base their willingness-to-accept in part on their biased perceptions of the buyers. Since individuals misconstrue others in many ways that contribute to increases in features linked with willingness-to-pay, this contributes to the endowment effect. Consistent with this explanation, the authors find that selling prices can be moderated by changing the description of the counterpart in several ways, to the point of reversing the endowment effect for positively valued goods. Further, the authors find a stronger endowment effect for products considered highly materialistic. Theoretically, these findings support a new explanation for the endowment effect and connect research on the endowment effect with research about misperceptions of others. Practically, the authors discuss ways of improving negotiations and pricing centered around correcting misperceptions of others.
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A Social Perception Theory of the Endowment Effect
Ignazio Ziano. ignazio.ziano@grenoble-em.com , Department of Marketing, Grenoble Ecole
de Management
Daniel Villanova, dvillanova@walton.uark.edu, Department of Marketing , Sam M. Walton
College of Business, University of Arkansas
Updated: April 20th, 2021
ABSTRACT
In nine experiments (total N = 2107, with British, French, and U.S. American
participants), this paper proposes and tests a social perception theory of the endowment effect.
First, the authors show that buyers are more likely to focus on themselves, and that sellers are
more likely to focus on buyers. Then, the authors show that the endowment effect is mediated
by misperceptions that sellers have about buyers’ features. Sellers base their willingness-to-
accept in part on their biased perceptions of the buyers. Since individuals misconstrue others
in many ways that contribute to increases in features linked with willingness-to-pay, this
contributes to the endowment effect. Consistent with this explanation, the authors find that
selling prices can be moderated by changing the description of the counterpart in several
ways, to the point of reversing the endowment effect for positively valued goods. Further, the
authors find a stronger endowment effect for products considered highly materialistic.
Theoretically, these findings support a new explanation for the endowment effect and connect
research on the endowment effect with research about misperceptions of others. Practically,
the authors discuss ways of improving negotiations and pricing centered around correcting
misperceptions of others.
Keywords: endowment effect, willingness-to-pay, willingness-to-accept, misperceptions, bias
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Mr. R bought a case of good wine in the late '50's for about $5 a bottle. A few years later his
wine merchant offered to buy the wine back for $100 a bottle. He refused, although he has
never paid more than $35 for a bottle of wine.
Thaler (1980), p. 44 (italics added for emphasis)
Imagine you want to sell a bottle of wine. Typically, you would be willing to accept more
money for it than you would be willing to pay for it. This systematic phenomenon is called the
endowment effect: in many transactions, sellers are willing to accept more money to sell a
product than they are willing to pay for it (Thaler 1980). But do buyer’s features matter for the
endowment effect? For instance, would knowing that the buyer is a wine merchant influence
how much you are willing to accept for a wine bottle? In this paper, we propose and test a
social perception theory of the endowment effect. This theory makes several proposals, which
we test in a series of studies. The first is that when people are selling, they focus more on
others to come up with a valuation, and when they are buying, they focus more on themselves
to come up with a valuation. The second is that ingrained misperceptions of others’ features
for instance, perceptions of materialism, product usefulness, and willingness-to-pay play a
central role in the endowment effect.
We suggest consumers engage in price discrimination (i.e., charging different prices to
different people, depending on judgments of the prospective customer’s willingness-to-pay
[WTP]; Varian 1989) when considering what price they would accept to sell a product (i.e.,
willingness-to-accept [WTA]). We argue that, in the same way that firms attempt to charge a
higher price for those willing to pay it and offer a lower price to induce purchase by those
who otherwise would not transact, sellers in the endowment effect paradigm use their beliefs
about prospective buyers to inform their selling prices.
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Thus, while buyers consider how they value the product, we argue that sellers consider
buyers’ valuation of the product; whereas buyers think of themselves, sellers think of others.
We argue that the endowment effect can be construed in terms of an interpersonal valuation
discrepancy and therefore is linked to related interpersonal perception biases. There are many
features that people may connect to how much they are willing to accept to sell a certain
product to others. We focus on three that have been suggested by prior literature perceived
WTP, perceived product usefulness, and perceived materialism. Others could play situation-
specific roles; we are not making the claim that misperceptions of the three features listed
above are the only explanations for the endowment effect. We believe that each and any one
of them (and possibly additional ones) may influence the endowment effect. However, we
focus on the three suggested but not yet tested by prior literature that have the most
plausible links to the endowment effect per our theory.
Specifically, we suggest that an overestimation of others’ perceived materialism may
partially underlie the endowment effect. Because people overestimate others’ materialism, and
more materialistic individuals have a greater affinity for products, they also believe others
would find those products more useful, and others would pay more for those products (Ziano
and Villanova 2020). Because others are expected to be willing to pay more for those
products, this creates an opportunity for sellers to price discriminate and report WTA that is
higher than their own WTP. Notably, this process bears out because sellers think about others
while buyers think about themselves when valuing the product, rendering the process subject
to these misperceptions. Consequently, we show that this bias in perceived materialism helps
explain the buyer-seller valuation gap.
Because buyers are less likely to focus on others, while sellers consider buyers’
relevant features, manipulating beliefs about others may affect the magnitude of the
endowment effect. For instance, sellers usually believe others (buyers) are more materialistic
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and are therefore willing to charge higher prices, resulting in the classic endowment effect
where WTA is greater than WTP. However, when buyers are perceived to be very non-
materialistic, sellers are willing to charge lower prices, resulting in a reversed endowment
effect where WTP is greater than WTA. Consistent with the importance of perceived
materialism, we also show that the endowment effect varies with respect to a critical product
characteristic- the extent to which the product supports the pursuit of materialistic values.
Products that are more suited to the consumption style of materialists are more prone to the
endowment effect, while products that are less suited to the consumption style of materialists
are less conducive to generating an endowment effect. We find similar results with
manipulated perceptions of product usefulness and WTP, two features that people tend to
overestimate in others.
This is a significant addition to research on the endowment effect as prior explanations
have mostly emphasized differences in how the target product is viewed by the seller or
buyer, but we show that the way the seller views the buyer is a cause of the endowment effect.
Further, by showing that misperceptions of others’ materialism, product usefulness, and WTP
contribute to the endowment effect, we connect two important streams of literature that have -
until now - proceeded in parallel: the literature on self-serving biases in social comparisons
(Alicke 1985; Kruger 1999; Kruger and Dunning 1999) and the literature about the
endowment effect (Kahneman et al. 1990, 1991; Thaler 1980). We also identify an important
source of product-based heterogeneity in the endowment effect. Finally, we relate these
results to prior explanations for the endowment effect and discuss how these findings serve to
promote future research.
Our practical implications range from contexts such as negotiations and pricing to
perceptions of others. Whenever two actors need to decide on a willingness-to-pay and a
willingness-to- accept, the self-serving biases that are already present may play a role, and
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changing them may produce more favorable outcomes for one of the parts involved. We now
turn to the theoretical background for this research, in which we first cover existing
explanations of the endowment effect, and then we propose a social perception theory of the
endowment effect.
THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
The endowment effect is the robust empirical finding that sellers appear to value
products more than buyers (Thaler 1980). Sellers’ willingness-to-accept (WTA) often exceeds
buyers’ willingness-to-pay (WTP). The endowment effect has implications for psychology,
marketing, economics, and even public policy as it suggests difficulties for price-based market
systems to efficiently allocate resources. Further illustrating its importance, the endowment
effect has been studied extensively over several decades, with many explanations offered to
account for it.
Explanations for the Endowment Effect
Seven major explanations exist: 1) loss sensitivity, 2) strategic responding, 3)
differences between buyers and sellers in information processing, 4) self-enhancement, 5)
psychological ownership, 6) attribute sampling bias, and 7) self-extension. To provide an
overview, we discuss each briefly (for more detailed reviews and additional information on
the nuances of which explanations are better-suited to explain the full slate of empirical
findings surrounding the endowment effect, see Morewedge and Giblin 2015 and Villanova
2019).
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The loss sensitivity (or loss aversion) explanation argues that selling is inherently seen
as a loss, whereas buying is seen as a gain, leading to sellers compensating with higher WTA
values (Brenner et al. 2007; Kahneman et al. 1990, 1991; Strahilevitz and Loewenstein 1998;
Thaler 1980). The strategic responding explanation argues that buyers and sellers strategically
misrepresent their valuation as higher or lower than it truly is to avoid getting a bad deal in
what they misbelieve is a negotiation (Isoni 2011; Plott and Zeiler 2005, 2007; Weaver and
Frederick 2012). The role-based information processing explanation suggests that the
endowment effect arises from differences in how the product is viewed by virtue of being put
in the position of buyer or seller (Carmon and Ariely 2000; Nayakankuppam and Mishra
2005).
The self-enhancement explanation suggests that selling presents a self-threat that
sellers compensate for with higher WTA values (Chatterjee et al. 2013; Dommer and
Swaminathan 2013; Maddux et al. 2010). The psychological ownership explanation, which
has enjoyed much attention in recent years, argues that what is critical to valuation
discrepancies such as the endowment effect is the feeling that a consumer has when they
believe a target object is perceived to be “theirs” (Morewedge et al. 2009; Reb and Connolly
2007; Shu and Peck 2011).
The attribute sampling bias perspective posits that various antecedents can make
different product attributes systematically more or less accessible in the minds of consumers
(Morewedge and Giblin 2015). Bias in attribute sampling can arise from ways consumers
relate to the product (e.g., greater psychological ownership) or from the roles they find
themselves in (e.g., being a seller vs. buyer). Finally, the self-extension perspective suggests
that valuation discrepancies may result from differences in the degree of extension of the self
into an object, which either adds a positive self-association or prompts different processing
strategies during product valuation (Villanova 2019).
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These prior explanations (with the exception of strategic responding, which we return
to in the General Discussion) all emphasize differences in how the target product is viewed by
the seller or buyer. We suggest that a difference in how the target buyer is viewed is relevant
as well. More specifically, we suggest that differences in the perceived materialism of the
buyer can contribute to the endowment effect. This hypothesis is motivated by research on
misperceptions of others, which we turn to next.
Perceptions of Others and Perceived Materialism
Individuals compare themselves favorably (and inaccurately) to others. As individuals
are driven to maintain high self-esteem and a positive self-concept (Van Lange 1991), they
perceive themselves as above the average person on positive traits such as loyalty and below
the average person on negative traits such as rudeness (Alicke 1985; successfully replicated in
Ziano, Mok, and Feldman 2020). This self-serving tendency can underpin interpersonal
discrepancies in perceptions of various characteristics. Individuals believe that they are more
morally virtuous than others (Allison, Goethals, and Messick 1989), that they are smarter than
average, and that they are smarter than they actually are (Kruger and Dunning 1999). Most
drivers believe they are better drivers than average (Roy and Liersch 2013) and most college
professors believe that they are better teachers than their colleagues (Cross 1977).
Such discrepancies also extend to consumer settings. For instance, consumers think
that others are more variety-seeking than them (Ratner and Kahn 2002) and they think that
performance-enhancing drugs are a natural enabler of their own abilities, but an unfair
embellishment of other people’s skills (Williams and Steffel 2014). Further, consumers
believe that others have more intense reactions to experiences (Jung et al. 2020), and they
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assume that others would find the same product more useful than they themselves would
(Ziano and Villanova 2020).
The “X effect,” or overestimating others’ willingness-to-pay, is also an example of an
important consumer-centric discrepancy in perceptions of others (Frederick 2012; Matthews,
Gheorghiu, and Callan 2016). Interestingly, although overestimation of others’ WTP has been
hypothesized to relate to the endowment effect (Frederick 2012), to date there has been no
theory causally linking mispredicting others’ WTP and the endowment effect. This is
surprising, considering that in the earliest formulation of the endowment effect (Thaler 1980,
on which we built in Study 4a), participants were asked to imagine that they are buying and
selling a bottle of wine from a wine merchant rather than to simply state their WTP and WTA
for the bottle in a vacuum. In this formulation, people may be likely to focus on what they
think of the wine merchant to establish their WTA. Therefore, the transaction counterpart
features may play a role. As mentioned before, explanations for the endowment effect have
focused on buyer-seller differences in viewing the product rather than a bias in how the seller
views the buyer. We propose that when buying and selling, people focus on their own and
other people’s features to a different extent. This is the first novel result that the present paper
seeks to establish.
H1: When people are selling, they focus more on others (i.e., on the buyers’ features)
compared with the buyer role; when people are buying, they focus more on themselves
compared with the seller role
We argue that as long as the seller considers their perceptions of the buyer (an other)
in generating their WTA while the buyer considers themselves (self) in generating their WTP,
inaccurate perceptions of others may help drive the endowment effect. What perceptions are
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relevant to judging how much the buyer may value the product? Ziano and Villanova (2020)
show that a discrepancy in perceived materialism contributes to overestimating others’
product usefulness and WTP, or how much they value the product. In general, people believe
that they are less materialistic than their counterparts. Since materialistic people are
stereotyped as particularly liking and appreciating products (Holt 1995; Shrum et al. 2013,
2014), people believe that others will use and value the same products more than they would.
It is important to underline that these are just some of the factors that laypeople may connect
with how much they believe others would be willing to pay for products. Many other features
may be linked to how much people think others will be willing to pay. Further, it is crucial to
show that seller’s overestimation of buyers’ WTP influences sellers’ WTA. While this
proposition has been suggested before (Frederick 2012), to the best of our knowledge, it has
not been empirically tested. Formally,
H2a: Sellers’ estimates of buyers’ WTP influence sellers’ WTA
The above hypothesis, if correct, naturally suggests that manipulating sellers’
information about the level of buyers’ WTP will causally increase or decrease sellers’ WTA.
H2b: Manipulating information about buyers’ WTP will cause increases and decreases
in sellers’ WTA
Coupled with our argument here that sellers and buyers differ in whom they think
about when reporting their selling and buying prices, we suggest that inaccurate perceptions
of others’ features contribute to the endowment effect. As we mentioned earlier, previous
research (Ziano and Villanova 2020) showed that people think that others would find the same
products more useful. Perceived product usefulness is another factor that may be causally
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connected to how much people believe others will pay for the same products. If this is correct,
informing participants about how much others would find the same product useful may affect
how much people are willing to accept for the same product. Thus:
H3: Manipulating information about buyers’ perceptions of product usefulness will
cause increases and decreases in sellers’ WTA
This difference in perceived usefulness stems from an antecedent difference in others’
perceived materialism (Ziano and Villanova 2020). If our reasoning is correct, then sellers’
WTA should depend on their perceptions of the buyer’s level of materialism, such that WTA
would be lower to sell to a buyer described as a less materialistic person but higher to sell to a
buyer described as highly materialistic:
H4a: Describing a buyer as more (vs. less) materialistic will result in a higher selling
price, i.e., WTA
H4b: The endowment effect is mediated - in part - by an overestimation of other’s
materialism
To drive this point home, when sellers have reason to believe the buyer is more
materialistic, the higher WTA should result in a strong endowment effect. When the buyer is
less materialistic, the lower WTA should result a weaker endowment effect. If the indicator
that the buyer is less materialistic is so strong as to even overcome the baseline tendency to
believe others are more materialistic and instead lead to believing the buyer is less
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materialistic than they are, WTA could be reduced below WTP and produce not just a weaker
but reversed endowment effect:
H5: Describing a buyer as more materialistic (vs. as an average person) will result in a
stronger endowment effect, but describing a buyer as less materialistic (vs. as an
average person) will result in a weaker, even reversed, endowment effect
Findings supporting this hypothesis would be important because they would provide
additional process evidence of the perceived materialism discrepancy we suggest contributes
to the endowment effect. Additionally, they would exhibit a novel reversed endowment effect
for a positively-valued product, something our theorizing suggests is possible but is generally
not contemplated by previous explanations (we return to this point in the General Discussion).
It is also possible that different products are more or less susceptible to the influence
of the interpersonal biases we contemplate in this research. This would suggest the
endowment effect would vary across products. If consumers believe that others are more
materialistic than they are, they should also believe that others are especially likely to
appreciate products that are representative of materialistic values, such as jewelry (van Boven
et al. 2010), or luxury products (Fournier and Richins 1991; Ziano and Villanova 2020). Thus,
biases due to a discrepancy in perceptions of materialism should be accentuated for products
that are more (vs. less) materialistic values aligned. This should lead to a stronger endowment
effect for a product more aligned with materialistic values (such as a Louis Vuitton bag) than
for a product less aligned with materialistic values (such as a reusable bottle).
H6: More (vs. less) materialistic values aligned products produce stronger endowment
effects
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Findings supporting this hypothesis would offer process-relevant moderation evidence
and identify a source of heterogeneity with important implications for consumer valuation
gaps. We address these and other contributions in detail in the General Discussion.
Next, we present our empirical findings.
STUDY OVERVIEW
In nine studies (summarized in Table 1), using multiple products and participants from
the U.S.A., U.K., and France, we investigate how the perceived materialism of the buyer
contributes to the endowment effect. Study 1 establishes that people are more likely to focus
on the buyer when they are establishing their WTA, and more focused on themselves when
they are establishing their WTP; we replicate this in Study W1. Study 2 finds that people
believe that a number of personal features affect others’ WTP and that perceived usefulness
and materialism are seen as very important features for this.
In Studies 3a-c, we show the influence of several features on WTA. Study 3a shows
that buyers’ WTP influences WTA. The same is found for perceptions of product usefulness
(Study 3b). In Study 3c, in a sample of French students, we find that the materialism of the
buyer affects WTA, hinting that in turn the endowment effect may also be a function of
perceptions of the buyer.
In Studies 4a-c, we provide a suite of process evidence for materialism. In Study 4a, in
a sample of American adults, we find that the perceived materialism of the buyer statistically
mediates the endowment effect. In Study 4b, we provide additional evidence for the causal
role of materialism by manipulating buyer materialism and observing its effect on product
valuation. In Study 4c, we find that more materialistic products are more susceptible to the
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endowment effect, providing process-relevant moderation evidence supporting the
contributory role of perceptions of buyer materialism in the endowment effect.
Data and analyses are available at this anonymized link:
https://osf.io/ugkx7/?view_only=7f8a83f0bf7d419ca19847d41a34ef67/
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TABLE 1
STUDY OVERVIEW
Study
N (Participants)
Study 1
308 (Prolific)
Study 2
300 (MTurk)
Study 3a
61 (French students)
Study 3b
61 (French students)
Study 3c
60 (French students)
Study 4a
401 (MTurk)
Study 4b
298 (MTurk)
Study 4c
274 (MTurk)
Study W1
281 (MTurk)
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STUDY 1 BUYERS AND SELLERS FOCUS ON DIFFERENT PEOPLE
The objective of this study was to test whether buyer and seller have a different focus
on the product, themselves, or the counterpart.
Method
Participants. We recruited 308 U.K. residents from Prolific (102 males, 206 females,
Mage = 34.97, SDage = 11.47). None of them selected “Yes” as a response to the question
“Have you ever had a fatal heart attack?” that we employed as an attention check, so we
retained them all for analyses.
Procedure. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, buyer and
seller. In both conditions, they were showed a picture of a product (binoculars). In the buyer
condition, they were asked to imagine they wanted to buy the binoculars and were deciding
how much they were willing to pay for it. In the seller condition, they were asked to imagine
they were selling the binoculars and that they were deciding how much they were willing to
accept for it. Participants read the following scenario (underlined in brackets, the seller
condition):
Imagine you are buying (selling) a product (binoculars). You are deciding how much
you are willing to pay (accept) for it
Measures. Then, participants were asked three questions, in randomized order. As a
measure of focus on the product, participants were asked “When deciding how much you are
willing to pay/willing to accept for the binocular, do you take into account features of the
product?”; as a measure of focus on the self, participants were asked “When deciding how
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much you are willing to pay/willing to accept for the binocular, do you take into account how
much you value the product?”; as a measure as a measure of focus on the other, participants
were asked “When deciding how much you are willing to pay/willing to accept for the
binocular, do you take into account how much the seller/buyer values the product?”. All items
were 7-point scales anchored at 1 (not at all) and 7 (very much).
Results
Focus on the product. Participants rated that they were similarly likely to focus on the
product in the buyer condition (M = 6.13, SD = 0.92) compared to the seller condition (M =
5.95, SD = 1.02), t(306) = 1.22, p = .11, d = 0.18.
Focus on the self. Participants rated that they were more likely to focus on the self in
the buyer condition (M = 5.93, SD = 1.16) than in the seller condition (M = 5.44, SD = 1.25),
t(306) = 3.33, p < .001, d = 0.40.
Focus on the other. Participants rated that they were more likely to focus on the other
person in the transaction in the seller condition (M = 4.94, SD = 1.54) compared to the buyer
condition (M = 3.73, SD = 1.64), t(306) = -6.69, p < .001, d = 0.76.
Discussion
This study shows that buyers are more likely than sellers to focus on how much they
value the product, and that sellers are more likely than buyers to focus on the other person
(i.e., the buyer) values the product in the transaction.
Study 1 provides support that when selling, people are attentive to the buyer and what
the buyer values in the product (i.e., thinking about others); when buying, people primarily
think about themselves. Further, we found no evidence supporting the notion that people are
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more or less focused on the product when buying or selling. In an additional study (N = 281,
MTurk, reported in full in the Web Appendix as Study W1), we replicated this result using a
relative measure of focusing on oneself vs. the other.
Next, we test whether people believe that other’s specific traits influence their WTP
for products.
STUDY 2 PEOPLE BELIEVE MANY TRAITS INFLUENCE OTHERS’ WTP
The objective of this study was to test whether people believe that some other people’s
traits influence their WTP.
Method
Participants. We recruited 300 participants from MTurk. Two participants failed the
attention check at the end of the survey, by replying “Yes” to the question “Have you ever
been on the planet Mars?” This left 298 valid participants (160 males, 135 females, 2 other, 1
preferred not to disclose, Mage = 39.65, SDage = 11.35).
Procedure. Participants were shown the following instructions:
The following are traits with which one could describe other people. How much do
you think these traits influence how much other people are willing to pay for products,
in general?
Per each trait, please indicate whether each trait influences how much other people
would be willing to pay for products, on this scale that goes from 1 - Does not
influence how much others are willing to pay at all to 7 - influences how much others
are willing to pay a lot.
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Then, they were shown 40 of the 149 traits from Alicke (1985), plus “materialism” and
“would find the product useful” from Ziano and Villanova (2020) in randomized order. This
ensured that each trait’s perceived influence on WTP would be evaluated by about 80
participants.
Results
Overall, participants seemed to consider most traits as influencing other people’s WTP
for products to a certain extent, as a large majority of them had an average value above the
scale midpoint (4), and many of them had values above 5. Materialistic had an average of
5.33, and finding product useful had an average of 6.05. Other notable traits that were
perceived as strongly influencing WTP were “fashionable” (M = 5.44); “self-disciplined” (M
= 5.39); “thrifty” (M = 5.33); “wise” (M = 5.31); and “extravagant” (M = 5.30). A complete
list is available in the Web Appendix and depicted in Figure 1.
FIGURE 1
PEOPLE BELIEVE MANY PERSONAL FEATURES INFLUENCE OTHERS’ WTP
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Discussion
This study shows that people hold strong beliefs that a wealth of traits influence other
people’s WTP. This study shows the inherently social aspect of other’s WTP estimations.
They are perceived as being inherently linked to other people’s features. The main objective
of the next studies is to provide theoretical support for our psychological processes, by
investigating whether others’ perceived WTP, materialism, and product usefulness could
influence WTA. To do so, we instructed participants imagine alternative targets who have
different features and about whom they have different information. Imagining people with
different features is a task that individuals engage in quite often, as evidenced by research on
the topic. In fact, this methodology of imagining an alternative person, with different features,
is a staple in the study of self-other psychology. For instance, Deri et al. (2019) asked
participants to imagine target others who differed on skill levels; Polman et al. (2020) asked
participants to imagine target others varying on features such as uniqueness and malleability;
Kuo et al. (2020) asked participants to imagine people varying on a status dimension. Thus,
we utilize this approach in our studies.
STUDY 3A THE CAUSAL EFFECT OF PERCEIVED WTP ON WTA
As we made the argument that sellers are focused on others, with this study we begin
our investigation on the features that can influence WTA. It is important, as a first step, to test
whether perceptions of other people’s WTP influences seller’s WTA. Therefore, the objective
of this study is to directly test whether declared WTP of the target participant affects WTA.
This study was preregistered at https://aspredicted.org/blind.php?x=di7gm2.
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Method
We recruited 61 participants in a French business school (25 males, 36 females, Mage =
20.2, SDage = 0.91). Participants were shown a product (a binocular) and told to imagine that
they were given the product new and unboxed. Then, they were shown the description of two
participants (named person #1 and person #2): they were told that participant #1, in a previous
survey, declared that they would pay €35 for the binoculars, and that person #2, in a previous
survey, declared that they would pay €150 for the binoculars. Then, they were asked how
much they would be willing to accept for the pair of binoculars from participant #1 and from
participant #2, on two separate sliders from €0 to €300. Finally, they rated how much person
#1 and person #2 were willing to pay on two items anchored at 1 (not at all) and 7 (very
much), as a manipulation check.
Results
Manipulation check. A paired- samples t-test showed that participants rated the WTP
of person #1 (M = 2.53, SD = 0.98) as lower than the WTP of person #2 (M = 5.54, SD =
1.03), t(60) = 17.02, p < .001, d = 2.18.
WTA. A paired- samples t-test showed that participants were willing to accept less
money for the binocular from person #1, who had declared a lower WTP (M = 72.54, SD =
40.81), compared to person #2, who had declared a higher WTP (M = 137.21, SD = 33.79),
t(60) = -11.20, p < .001, d = 1.43.
Discussion
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This study shows that sellers’ WTA is causally influenced by perceived WTP. This is
a crucial step in our reasoning, as it reinforces the notion that the consideration of others
influences WTA. Next, we turn to perceived product usefulness.
STUDY 3B THE CAUSAL EFFECT OF PERCEIVED PRODUCT USEFULNESS
ON WTA
The objective of this study is to show that manipulating perceptions of the buyer’s
product usefulness influences seller’s WTA. This study was preregistered at
https://aspredicted.org/blind.php?x=be3sf2.
Method
We recruited 61 students at a French business school (21 males, 40 females; Mage =
20.15, SDage = 0.75). They were told to imagine they received a pair of binoculars, new and
unboxed. They were given the description of two people, person #1 and person #2, and told
that person #1 would not find the product useful at all, and that person #2 would find the
product very useful. Then, they were asked to indicate their willingness to accept for the
binoculars from person #1 and person #2 on two sliders from €0 and €300. Finally, as a
manipulation check, participant rated how useful person #1 and person #2 would find the
product useful on two 7-point items anchored at 1 (not at all) and 7 (very much).
Results
22
Manipulation check. A paired-samples t-test showed that participants indicated lower
product usefulness for person #1 (M = 1.51, SD = 0.83), who indicated they would not find
the product useful at all, compared to person #2 (M = 6.39, SD = 1.20), who indicated they
would find the product very useful, t(60) = 22.39, p < .001, d = 2.87.
WTA. A paired-samples t-test showed that participants indicated lower WTA for
person #1 (M = 94.89, SD = 47.75), who indicated they would not find the product useful at
all, compared to person #2 (M = 139.18, SD = 61.59), who indicated they would find the
product very useful, t(60) = 6.08, p < .001, d = 0.79.
Discussion
This study shows that manipulating the perceived buyer product usefulness affects
WTA, which is higher when the buyer is described as finding the product more useful, and
lower when the buyer is described as finding the product less useful. In the next study, we
turn to perceived buyer materialism.
STUDY 3C THE CAUSAL EFFECT OF PERCEIVED MATERIALISM ON WTA
The objective of this study is to show that perceptions of the buyer’s materialism
influences WTA. This study was preregistered at http://aspredicted.org/blind.php?x=cu9s7f.
Method
23
We recruited 60 students at a French business school (20 males, 40 females, Mage =
20.03, SDage = 0.75). They imagined they had received a pair of binoculars. They were given
the description of two people, person #1 and person #2, and told that person #1 had been
classified as a non-materialistic person, having scored 2.5/10 on a materialism scale in a
previous survey, and that person #2 had been classified as a very materialistic person, having
scored 9.5/10 on a materialism scale in a previous survey. Then, they were asked to indicate
their WTA for the binoculars from person #1 and person #2 on two sliders from €0 and €300.
Finally, as a manipulation check, participants rated how materialistic person #1 and person #2
were, on two seven-point items anchored at 1 (not at all) and 7 (very much).
Results
Manipulation check. A paired-samples t-test showed that participants indicated lower
materialism for person #1 (M = 2.15, SD = 1.04), who had been classified as a non-
materialistic person, compared to person #2 (M = 5.92, SD = 1.21), who had been classified as
a very materialistic person (t(59) = 14.15, p < .001, d = 1.83), confirming the success of our
manipulation.
WTA. A paired-samples t-test showed that participants indicated lower WTA for
person #1 (M = 92.00, SD = 59.79), who had been classified as a non-materialistic person,
compared to person #2 (M = 139.97, SD = 66.06), who had been classified as a very
materialistic person (t(59) = 6.86, p < .001, d = 0.89).
Discussion
24
In support of our reasoning, this study shows that the perceived materialism of the
buyer affects WTA. This is important as it shows that perceptions of others have a causal
influence on WTA. Until now, our studies have focused on WTA alone; the next three studies
test whether WTP/WTA gaps can be explained by misperceptions of buyer’s materialism, and
we provide statistical mediation and moderation evidence for the relevance of materialism.
STUDY 4A PERCEIVED MATERIALISM AND THE ENDOWMENT EFFECT
The objective of this study was to mediate a classic and reliable endowment effect
scenario (Mandel 2002; Thaler, 1980; replicated in Ziano, Yao, Gao, and Feldman, 2020) and
show that the endowment effect is mediated by an interpersonal discrepancy in perceived
materialism. This study was preregistered at http://aspredicted.org/blind.php?x=f2n95r.
Method
We recruited 401 participants from MTurk (217 males, 181 females, 2 other, 1
preferred not to disclose, Mage = 37.48, SDage = 12.37). Six participants answered “Yes” to the
question “Have you ever had a fatal heart attack?” (Yes/No answer) and were excluded from
analyses, as we preregistered, leaving a final sample of 395 MTurk participants (211 males,
181 females, 2 other, 1 preferred not to disclose, Mage = 37.39, SDage = 12.04).
Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, buyer and seller.
Participants were shown a scenario adapted (adjusting for inflation) from Thaler (1980), in
which they imagined that either they or a wine merchant were selling a case of wine bottle
they had bought for $15 per bottle, a decade before the present. In the buyer condition,
participants rated how much they would be willing to pay (WTP) the wine merchant per
25
bottle; in the seller condition, they rated how much they would be willing to accept (WTA)
per bottle to sell to the wine merchant. Both WTP and WTA were measured on a slider
anchored at $0 and $50. In the buyer condition, participants were asked to rate how
materialistic they were; in the seller condition, participants were asked to rate how
materialistic they thought that the wine merchant was, both on items anchored at 1 (not at all)
and 7 (very much).
Results
Prices. Participants’ WTA (M = 26.14, SD = 10.73) was significantly higher than their
WTP (M = 19.56, SD = 8.79, Welch’s t(371.36) = 6.64, p < .001, d = 0.67), replicating the
endowment effect.
Materialism. Participants rated themselves (M = 3.00, SD = 1.44) as significantly less
materialistic than the wine merchant (M = 4.57, SD = 1.32), Welch’s t(392.48) = -11.28, p <
.001, d = 1.13, replicating the self-other bias in materialism perceptions shown in Ziano and
Villanova (2020).
Mediation. A bootstrap mediation analysis (PROCESS macro for SPSS v3.4; Hayes
2013; 5000 bootstraps) using condition as the independent variable, perceptions of
materialism as the mediator, and price as the dependent variable found a significant indirect
effect, ab (SE) = 1.40 (.65), 95% CI [.20, 2.76], confirming that materialism perceptions
mediated the effect of buyer/seller role on reported valuations.
Discussion
26
This preregistered study replicates the endowment effect, as well as the self-other
discrepancy in materialism perceptions shown by Ziano and Villanova (2020). Most
importantly, it shows that this discrepancy mediates the endowment effect, providing support
for our theoretical argument. Next, we investigate whether changing the perceived
materialism of the buyer can modulate the endowment effect (i.e. strengthening it or reversing
it depending on the target materialism description).
STUDY 4B MANIPULATED MATERIALISM AFFECTS THE ENDOWMENT
EFFECT
The objective of this study is to modulate the endowment effect by changing the target
buyer. This study was preregistered at http://aspredicted.org/blind.php?x=sr37fm.
Method
We recruited 298 participants on MTurk (188 males, 109 females, Mage = 37.68, SDage
= 13.75), of which 22 failed to identify the correct word in an audio snippet used as an
attention check and were therefore excluded from analyses, leaving a valid sample of 276
participants (169 males, 106 females, Mage = 37.51, SDage = 12.87). Participants rated their
own WTP for a flat-screen TV; their WTA for the TV to an average person; their WTA for
the TV to person #100, who was rated as not materialistic; and their WTA for the TV to
person #200, who was rated as highly materialistic. The method of eliciting prices within-
subjects is not unusual in studies of the endowment effect (see for instance, Chapman, Dean,
Ortoleva, Snowberg, and Camerer, 2017). Then, participants rated themselves, the average
27
person, person #100, and person #200 on perceived materialism, on four items anchored at 1
(not at all) and 7 (very much).
Results
Materialism. A repeated-measures ANOVA found a main effect of target (F(3, 825) =
246.56, p < .001, η2 = .362). People thought the average person (M = 4.80, SD = 1.05) was
more materialistic than they were (M = 3.65, SD = 1.71, t(825) = 10.03, p < .001, d = 0.70),
that the non-materialistic person (M = 3.05, SD = 1.79) was less materialistic than they were
(t(825) = -5.27, p < . 001, d = -0.37), and that the highly materialistic person (M = 5.93, SD =
1.18) was more materialistic than they were (t(825) = 19.81, p < .001, d = 1.03).
Prices. A repeated-measures ANOVA found a main effect of target (F(3, 825) =
23.43, p < .001, η2 = .015). Compared to WTP (M = 232.60, SD = 100), we did not observe
different WTA to sell to the average person (i.e., no endowment effect; M = 232.97, SD =
108.30, t(825) = .08, p = .99, d = 0.01); we observed a reversed endowment effect regarding
the WTA to sell to the non-materialistic person (M = 214.48, SD = 105.18, t(825) = -4.10, p <
.001, d = -0.22), and a strong endowment effect for the WTA to sell to the highly-materialistic
person (M = 251.57, SD = 105.83, t(825) = 4.29, p < .001, d = 0.22, also see Table 1).
TABLE 1
RESULTS, STUDY 3
Target
Price
M (SD)
Materialism
M (SD)
Self [WTP]
232.60 (100.33)
3.65 (1.71)
Average Other [WTA]
232.97 (108.30)
4.80 (1.05)
Low-materialism Other [WTA]
214.48 (105.18)
3.05 (1.79)
High-materialism Other [WTA]
251.57 (105.83)
5.93 (1.18)
Discussion
28
This study shows that the endowment effect can vary in magnitude and even reverse
depending on the target buyer, and specifically depending on their perceived level of
materialism. This evidence strengthens the notion that a self-other bias in materialism can
contribute to the endowment effect. We did not find a classic endowment effect when
comparing the self and the “average other.” This is consistent with some prior literature that
identified some difficulties in replicating the endowment effect (Ziano et al. 2020).
Nonetheless, we believe that this study makes an important theoretical point - that perceptions
of the buyer’s materialism can produce large and even reversed endowment effects. We return
to this point in the General Discussion.
Next, we test whether the nature of the product (more vs. less materialistic values
aligned) can moderate the endowment effect.
STUDY 4C MODERATION BY PRODUCTS’ MATERIALISTIC VALUES
ALIGNMENT
This study aims to test whether the endowment effect is stronger with more
materialistic values aligned products compared to less materialistic products. This study was
preregistered at http://aspredicted.org/blind.php?x=y6mr2s.
Method
We recruited 274 participants on MTurk (152 males, 120 females, 2 other/prefer not to
disclose, Mage = 35.00, SDage = 13.34). Participants were assigned to a 4 (product) x 2 (role:
seller vs. buyer) fully within-subjects scenario. Participants were exposed to a seller and a
buyer role in randomized order. In both conditions, they were shown four products, two more
29
materialistic values aligned (a TV and a Louis Vuitton bag) and two less materialistic values
aligned (a durable plastic bottle and a dictionary), in randomized order. We selected these
products from Ziano and Villanova (2020), who showed that indeed the TV and luxury bag
are considered more representative of materialistic values than the bottle and dictionary.
In the buyer (seller) condition, participants indicated their WTP (WTA) for all four
products, on a slider from $0-$70 for the bottle and dictionary and on a slider from $0-$500
for the TV and luxury bag. We standardized these responses within each product prior to
analysis to put responses on a comparable scale. At the end of the buyer condition,
participants were asked to rate themselves on materialism, and at the end of the seller
condition, they were asked to rate the person they would be selling the product to on
materialism, both on items anchored at 1 (not at all) and 7 (very much).
Results
Prices. A repeated-measures ANOVA found a significant effect of role (i.e., an
endowment effect; F(1, 273) = 26.98, p < .001, η² = .09), and the predicted Role x Product
interaction (F(1, 273) = 37.14, p < .001, η² = .12). We found a larger and significant
endowment effect for more materialistic values aligned products (MWTP = -.13, SD = .87 vs.
MWTA = .13, SD = .87, t(273) = 6.55, p < .001, d = .40) compared to less materialistic values
aligned products (MWTP = -.02, SD = .96 vs. MWTA = .02, SD = .98, t(273) = 1.56, p = .12, d =
.09).
Materialism. Participants rated themselves (M = 3.67, SD = 1.85) as less materialistic
than the person they would be selling the products to (M = 4.53, SD = 1.60, t(273) = 7.82, p <
.001, d = 0.47).
Moderated mediation analysis. To account for our repeated measures, we conducted a
mediation analysis using the MLmed macro for SPSS (Hayes and Rockwood 2020, 10,000
30
Monte Carlo samples), with materialism scores (self and other) as the mediator, valuations
(WTP and WTA) as the dependent variable, and product materialistic values alignment as the
second-step moderator. We found a significant index of moderated mediation (.08, 95% CI:
[.03, .14]). The indirect effect for the more materialistic products was significant (ab (SE) =
.10 (.02), 95% CI: [.06, .14]), while the indirect effect for the less materialistic products was
weaker and not statistically significant (ab (SE) = .02 (.02), 90% CI: [-.01, .05]). Thus, the
self-other bias in perceived materialism mediated the endowment effect for more materialistic
products but did not contribute to the endowment effect for less materialistic products.
Discussion
This study shows that the endowment effect is stronger for more materialistic values
aligned products compared to less materialistic values aligned products. This evidence
strengthens our argument that the endowment effect is partly a function of perceptions of the
buyer: since sellers believe others are more materialistic than they are, they set selling prices
higher than their own WTP for highly materialistic values aligned products, but not for those
products for which such a price discrimination opportunity is weaker.
GENERAL DISCUSSION
We presented nine studies which showed how biased perceptions of materialism
contribute to the endowment effect. Study 1 establishes that people are more likely to focus on
the buyer when they are establishing their WTA, and more focused on themselves when they
are establishing their WTP. Study 2 finds that people believe that a number of traits affect
others’ WTP, with usefulness and materialism noted as particularly important ones. Study 3a
31
shows that buyers’ WTP influences WTA. The same is found for perceptions of product
usefulness (Study 3b). In Study 3c, in a sample of French students, we find that the
materialism of the buyer affects WTA, hinting that in turn the endowment effect may also be a
function of perceptions of the buyer. In Study 4a, in a sample of American adults, we find that
the perceived materialism of the buyer statistically mediates the endowment effect. In Study
4b, we provide additional evidence for the causal role of materialism by manipulating buyer
materialism and observing its effect on product valuation. In Study 4c, we find that more
materialistic products are more susceptible to the endowment effect, providing process-
relevant moderation evidence supporting the contributory role of perceptions of buyer
materialism in the endowment effect.
Theoretical Contribution
We show that overestimation of others’ materialism and product usefulness perception
contribute to the endowment effect. Our work links two important areas of consumer research:
the literature about self-serving biases in social comparisons (Alicke 1985; Kruger 1999;
Kruger and Dunning 1999) and the literature about the endowment effect (Kahneman et al.
1990, 1991; Thaler 1980). This significantly adds to research on the endowment effect as
prior explanations have mostly emphasized differences in how the target product is viewed by
the seller or buyer, but we show that the way the seller views the buyer is a cause of the
endowment effect. Notably, since sellers tend to view buyers as more materialistic than they
are, they charge higher prices than buyers would be willing to pay, a process akin to price
discrimination. We also find that when this tendency breaks down when provided a strong
indicator of the buyer’s materialism, sellers actually view buyers as less materialistic, and they
charge lower prices than buyers would be willing to pay, reversing the endowment effect.
32
Our reversal of the endowment effect - which we obtained when manipulating the
buyer’s purported materialism - is particularly interesting in light of prior explanations for the
endowment effect. Empirical evidence for a reversed endowment effect for positively-valued
goods is limited. Only incidental sadness has been shown to reverse the endowment effect (for
positively-valued goods), and that is by compensatorily increasing buyers’ WTP (Lerner,
Small, and Loewenstein 2004; Shu and Peck 2011); we find a reversed endowment effect
from sellers reducing their WTA based on perceptions of the buyer.
As noted by Villanova (2019), only attribute sampling bias and self-extension predict
a reversed endowment effect for a positively-valued good, and only under rather narrow
circumstances. Attribute sampling bias can account for the incidental sadness findings if
emotions are construed as differentially changing the accessibility of attributes across roles
(e.g., by making positive product attributes more accessible to buyers without a concomitant
change for sellers). Self-extension can predict a reversed endowment effect when an otherwise
valuable good is associated with a dissociative reference group. However, these and the other
product perception accounts (loss aversion, role-based information processing, self-
enhancement, and psychological ownership) are insufficient to account for the findings
presented here that seller perceptions of the buyer are pertinent to the endowment effect.
Strategic responding is the only prior explanation that is not product-based. Strategic
responding argues that sellers consider the buyer in that they realize there is an advantage to
be taken- either by misrepresenting their WTA as higher than it truly is to get a leg up in a
negotiation or by increasing their WTA in line with known market prices to avoid getting a
bad deal (Weaver and Frederick 2012). Our theory allows for the possibility that sellers could
view buyers as less materialistic than they are and result in WTA that is less than WTP (Study
3c), whereas a strategic responder would always report WTA above WTP.
33
One existing finding is relevant to ours. Mandel (2002) showed that buyers and sellers
consider which party is “demanding” the transaction and adjust their prices accordingly (when
the buyer wants the transaction, prices increase; when the seller wants the transaction, prices
decrease). Like our theory, valuation in this case reflects price discrimination when
considering the counterparty. However, while Mandel’s (2002) finding concerns objective and
exogenous demand signals, our theory of an endogenous interpersonal perception bias
suggests that even in the absence of such objective signals, sellers attend to their perceptions
of the buyer (see Study 2).
We show that perceptions of the buyer’s features help explain valuation gaps- both the
endowment effect and a reversed endowment effect. Regarding buyers’ materialism, we
provided evidence for this process through manipulating buyer materialism, statistical
mediation, and process-relevant moderation by product type. This product heterogeneity is
important as it helps outline where we would expect greater negotiation and pricing frictions
(more materialistic values aligned products) and where these frictions may be weaker (less
materialistic values aligned products).
Is materialism the only better-than-average effect underlying the endowment effect?
Probably not. In the present work, we focused on perceptions of materialism because of its
strong connection with the acquisition and appreciation of products (Holt 1995; Shrum et al.
2013, 2014), as well as its identified linkage with product usefulness and valuation (Ziano and
Villanova 2020), which we also studied in this work. We encourage future research in this
direction to study additional counterparty perceptions that could affect the endowment effect.
Practical implications
34
Our findings also have practical implications, particularly in negotiation and pricing.
Perception management may be beneficial in a negotiation- when a buyer is perceived as
highly materialistic, the seller is inclined to charge a higher price, and so buyers may want to
instead cultivate an image of being less materialistic in order to get a better deal. Because this
misperception contributes to the endowment effect, naïve sellers may inadvertently overprice
their wares in secondhand or online marketplaces, causing unnecessary frictions in negotiation
or leading to submaximal sales quantities (though whether this is suboptimal from a revenue
or profit standpoint depends on many other factors as well, such as demand elasticity and cost
structure). Having more information on the counterparty’s level of materialism may help align
WTP and WTA and make these markets and negotiations more efficient. Similar
Limitations and future research
A possible critique to our findings pertains to the design of some of our experiments.
Namely, we have employed within-subjects designs for some of our studies. Sometimes,
within-subjects designs are critiqued because participants see multiple stimuli or questions.
Proponents of this critique believe that, in a within-subjects design, participants will become
aware of the experimenters’ hypotheses, and compromise internal validity. However, this
critique does not have empirical support. For instance, Lambdin and Shaffer (2009) show that
even classic framing effects, which a priori should be the ones most affected by an increase in
design transparency, are alive and well in within-subjects design. Coming to the endowment
effect, while classic formulations are between-subjects (Thaler, 1980), the endowment effect
has been observed in within-subjects designs as well (Chapman et al. 2017; Fehr, Hakimov,
and Kübler 2015; Isoni, Loomes, and Sugden 2011). Finally, even though participant
35
awareness is necessary but not sufficient to introduce a demand artifact (Shimp, Hyatt, and
Snyder 1991), we note that Study 4a used a between-subjects formulation.
Another possible objection to our findings is that in some studies we did not observe
statistically significant endowment effects. We have two responses to this objection.
First, we believe that it is important to report our results even if some comparisons are
non-significant, considering that transparency is a scientific value of the utmost importance.
Second, we are not the first ones to encounter difficulties replicating the endowment effect.
Ziano et al. (2020) successfully replicated twice the endowment effect proposed in Mandel
(2002) Experiment 1 but could not successfully replicate twice the endowment effect
proposed in Irmak et al. (2013) Study 2. Perhaps the formulation in which the buyer’s features
are specified and relevant to the product (e.g., a wine merchant when the product is a bottle of
wine; Mandel 2002; Thaler 1980), are better suited to yielding a statistically significant
endowment effect. If so, this would even underscore our contention that attending to
perceptions of the counterparty contributes to the endowment effect. Regardless, despite some
endowment effects failing to arise, we do in fact observe the endowment effect several times,
as well as its reversal and attenuation, all in line with our hypotheses. In sum, the overall
pattern of our results is very supportive of our theorizing.
Our work has investigated how misperceptions of others modulate WTA. Perhaps,
they can also affect WTP. For instance, if a buyer is buying something from someone who
they think is not a materialist at all, WTP may be adjusted downwards. This is an interesting
research question that we leave for future research.
36
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A Social Perception Theory of the Endowment Effect
Web Appendix
Table of contents
STUDY W1 TESTING CONSUMERS’ FOCUS, WITHIN-SUBJECTS ................ 43
Method ...................................................................................................................... 43
Results ...................................................................................................................... 43
Discussion ................................................................................................................. 43
FULL LIST OF TRAITS FROM STUDY 2 ................................................................ 44
43
STUDY W1 TESTING CONSUMERS’ FOCUS, WITHIN-SUBJECTS
The objective of this study was to test whether people think more of themselves or of
the counterpart when buying and selling.
This study was preregistered at http://aspredicted.org/blind.php?x=zg9s6n.
Method
Participants. We recruited 281 participants from MTurk (178 males, 102 females, 1
other/ preferred not to disclose, Mage = 38.28, SDage = 12.24). Twenty-two participants
answered “Yes” to the question “Have you ever had a fatal heart attack” at the end of the
survey and were excluded from analyses, leaving a final sample of 259 participants (158
males, 100 females, 1 other/ preferred not to disclose, Mage = 38.17, SDage = 11.87).
Procedure. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, buyer and
seller. In both conditions, they were shown a picture of a product (binoculars). In the buyer
condition, they were asked to imagine they wanted to buy the binoculars and were deciding
how much they were willing to pay for it. In the seller condition, they were asked to imagine
they were selling the binoculars and that they were deciding how much they were willing to
accept for it. Participants read the following scenario (underlined in brackets, the seller
condition):
Imagine you are buying (selling) a product (binoculars). You are deciding how much
you are willing to pay (accept) for it.
Do you give more weight to how much you consider the product important or how
much the seller (buyer) considers it important?
Measures. Participants were asked how much they gave weight to their own
considerations or the counterpart’s considerations on a 7- point item anchored at 1 (I give
more weight to how much I consider it important), 4 (I give equal weight to what I and the
buyer/seller consider important) and 7 (I give much more weight to what the buyer/seller
considers important).
Results
Participants reported greater emphasis on their own considerations in the buyer
condition (M = 2.94, SD = 1.95) compared to the seller condition (M = 4.27, SD = 1.68),
t(257) = 5.92, p < .001, d = 0.74. Rather than primarily thinking of themselves, those in the
seller condition considered the buyer to a greater extent.
Discussion
This study shows that sellers are more likely than buyers to take into account what the
counterpart thinks is important. This study provides evidence for our notion that buyers are
more self-focused and that sellers are more other-focused.
44
FULL LIST OF TRAITS FROM STUDY 2
Trait
Mean
Trait
Mean
Trait
Mean
Trait
Mean
useful
6.05
meticulous
4.51
neat
4.01
meddlesome
3.35
fashionable
5.44
interesting
4.48
polite
3.99
softspoken
3.33
selfdisciplined
5.39
clever
4.47
punctual
3.98
rude
3.33
materialistic
5.33
considerate
4.47
obedient
3.97
unpleasant
3.31
thrifty
5.33
cooperative
4.47
cunning
3.96
withdrawn
3.31
wise
5.31
selfsatisfied
4.47
inhibited
3.95
timid
3.28
extravagant
5.30
bright
4.45
unreasonable
3.90
disobedient
3.27
responsible
5.26
versatile
4.45
changeable
3.89
passive
3.27
impulsive
5.20
conforming
4.41
normal
3.88
belligerent
3.25
choosy
5.18
prudent
4.40
sportsmanlike
3.84
melancholic
3.24
reliable
5.16
irresponsible
4.38
jealous
3.83
uncivil
3.23
compulsive
5.12
admirable
4.37
incompetent
3.76
unpleasing
3.20
clearheaded
5.08
imaginative
4.32
reserved
3.72
dishonorable
3.18
gullible
5.04
sincere
4.32
complaining
3.71
unoriginal
3.17
levelheaded
5.03
goodtempered
4.32
lazy
3.70
solemn
3.15
perceptive
5.00
prideful
4.30
strict
3.70
unkind
3.14
intelligent
4.96
sharpwitted
4.30
dishonest
3.69
spiteful
3.12
resourceful
4.96
persistent
4.28
humorous
3.67
impolite
3.12
trustful
4.95
kind
4.27
daydreamer
3.66
unentertaining
3.11
attractive
4.94
clean
4.26
radical
3.66
disrespectful
3.09
overcautious
4.88
friendly
4.24
religious
3.64
unpopular
3.09
impressionable
4.85
lively
4.24
fearless
3.62
maladjusted
3.06
ethical
4.81
irrational
4.22
lucky
3.62
unstudious
3.01
intellectual
4.80
shallow
4.22
unsophisticated
3.58
cold
3.00
wellread
4.75
deceptive
4.19
illmannered
3.52
hostile
2.98
mature
4.73
dissatisfied
4.19
ordinary
3.51
mean
2.98
boastful
4.72
pleasant
4.19
unappreciative
3.51
forgetful
2.92
observant
4.71
respectful
4.19
unskilled
3.48
unforgiving
2.92
snobbish
4.71
insecure
4.17
restless
3.47
unemotional
2.89
bold
4.70
selfcentered
4.15
discontented
3.47
tiresome
2.88
selfconcerned
4.69
hesitant
4.10
sensitive
3.47
unpoised
2.84
dependable
4.67
honourable
4.09
witty
3.46
meek
2.82
original
4.67
vain
4.07
troubled
3.45
bashful
2.81
loyal
4.63
quick
4.07
philosophical
3.44
clumsy
2.81
progressive
4.63
authoritative
4.04
discourteous
3.42
humorless
2.77
creative
4.53
phony
4.04
liar
3.41
irreligious
2.75
eccentric
4.52
ingenious
4.03
uncultured
3.36
profane
2.55
grateful
4.52
unethical
4.03
deceitful
3.35
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