Anchoring in willingness-to-pay decisions: An experimental comparison of two research approaches

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by Michal Ďuriník


JEL classification

  • Economic Methodology: General
  • Marketing


anchoring, experiment, willingness to pay


Businesses can increase customers’ willingness to pay by simply displaying multi-digit numbers, utilizing the anchoring effect. This paper compares two methodological approaches to test for the anchoring effect experimentally: a hypothetical one (subjects answering what-if questions) and a real situation (subjects making decisions involving their own real money). Although previous studies have examined anchoring in each of these settings separately, no direct comparison is available to date. In this paper, we conduct an experiment to compare anchoring in a hypothetical and a real-purchase setting. As hypothesized, the anchoring effect is more prevalent in the hypothetical than in the real-purchase condition. This produces some concerns regarding the suitability of the methods used to examine the anchoring effect.