Matthew Nagler - Choosing and Adjusting

Melbourne Institute Seminar Series

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Arezou Zaresani

azaresani@unimelb.edu.au

Title: Choosing and Adjusting

Abstract: The paper develops a model of individual decision-making in which cognitive adjustment complements choice of action. Because adjustment is durable, initial positions in consumption (“endow- ments”) matter for future consumption decisions. Thus the theory provides a unified foundation in primitives for the endowment effect, behaviors traditionally attributed to sunk-cost bias, and the effectiveness of marketing practices. Demonstrations of cognitive dissonance in the literature fit a pattern of adjustment effects predicted in the model based on restriction of the individual’s choice set. Natural experiments that similarly leverage choice-restricting events could allow identification of endowment effects and other adjustment phenomena in the market.

Presenter: Matthew Nagler, The City College of New York

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