Testing the Strength and Robustness of the Attraction Effect in Consumer Decision Making

38 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2014 Last revised: 11 May 2015

See all articles by Paolo Crosetto

Paolo Crosetto

Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory

Alexia Gaudeul

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Date Written: April 13, 2015


We report the results of an original experiment designed to test the strength and robustness of the attraction effect. We consider a conceptually simple consumer purchasing task where alternatives are however difficult to evaluate. For the attraction effect to be observed, the consumer must go through two steps: the first is to find out that two or more options are comparable, which leads him to exclude the dominated alternatives. The second is to favor the dominant option over those that are not comparable. Our experiment allows us to determine whether and how many individuals stop before each of those two steps. Results confirm the existence of an attraction effect in our setting, but the effect is not strong. Indeed, only a minority of subjects perform the second step. The effect is not robust to introducing larger differences in prices among options and to widening the range of options to choose from. We conclude by showing that our subjects are too confident in their ability to evaluate offers on their own and would benefit from relying more on asymmetric dominance editing.

Keywords: Asymmetric Dominance Editing, Attraction Effect, Comparability, Consumer Choice, Experimental Economics, Pricing Formats

JEL Classification: C91, D12, D83

Suggested Citation

Crosetto, Paolo and Gaudeul, Alexia, Testing the Strength and Robustness of the Attraction Effect in Consumer Decision Making (April 13, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2485106 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2485106

Paolo Crosetto

Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory ( email )

BP 47
38040 Grenoble

Alexia Gaudeul (Contact Author)

Georg-August-Universität Göttingen ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
+49 (0) 551 39 7333 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://agaudeul.wordpress.com

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