Truck, Barter and Exchange Versus the Endowment Effect: Virtual Field Experiments in an Online Game Environment

25 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2008  

Yannick Ferreira De Sousa

University College London

Alistair Munro

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2008

Abstract

We examine the feasibility of using a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) to test economic theories. As a test vehicle we use the well-known hypothesis about the relationship between market experience and the endowment effect. Our results confirm earlier field experiments that individuals with more trading experience are less likely to exhibit status quo behaviour in trade. However, we also find evidence that highly experienced individuals are more likely to swap the item rather than keep it - i.e. there appears to be a propensity to 'truck, barter and exchange'. A further experiment suggests that this feature is robust and is unlikely to be due to subject misperception or experimenter demand effects. We conclude that virtual economies may be a useful venue for field experiments.

Keywords: endowment effect, virtual field experiment, Runescape, MMORPG

JEL Classification: C93, D11

Suggested Citation

De Sousa, Yannick Ferreira and Munro, Alistair, Truck, Barter and Exchange Versus the Endowment Effect: Virtual Field Experiments in an Online Game Environment (January 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1082797 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1082797

Yannick Ferreira De Sousa (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Alistair Munro

National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) ( email )

Tokyo
Japan

HOME PAGE: http://www.grips.ac.jp/

University of London, Royal Holloway College - Department of Economics ( email )

Royal Holloway College
Egham
Surrey, Surrey TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

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