Less Is Better: When Low-value Options Are Valued More Highly than High-value Options
Christopher K. Hsee
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Vol. 11, 1998
This research demonstrates a less-is-better effect in three contexts: (1) a person giving a $45 scarf as a gift was perceived to be more generous than one giving a $55 coat; (2) an overfilled ice cream serving with 7 oz of ice cream was valued more than an underfilled serving with 8 oz of ice cream; (3) a dinnerware set with 24 intact pieces was judged more favourably than one with 31 intact pieces (including the same 24) plus a few broken ones. This less-is-better effect occurred only when the options were evaluated separately, and reversed itself when the options were juxtaposed. These results are explained in terms of the evaluability hypothesis, which states that separate evaluations of objects are often influenced by attributes which are easy to evaluate rather than by those which are important.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
Keywords: evaluability, joint evaluation, separate evaluation, preference reversal, dominance violation
JEL Classification: D81, D11, D12, D91Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 11, 2006
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