Do Auction Bidders 'Really' Want to Win the Item, or Do They Simply Want to Win?

Posted: 4 Aug 2005

See all articles by James R. Wolf

James R. Wolf

Illinois State University

Hal R. Arkes

Ohio State University - Department of Psychology

Waleed A. Muhanna

The Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business

Date Written: January 19, 2006

Abstract

This article describes three experiments designed to investigate the effects of competition and attachment on auction bidder behavior. For each study, in order to isolate bidders' desire to win the item from bidders' desire to simply win the auction, we constructed survey experiments with participants divided into two groups. Both groups bid on a certificate that could be exchanged for an attractive gift, but for one of the groups the certificate number was changed, although the gift for which the certificate could be exchanged remained the same. In each experiment, the group with the changed certificate number bid significantly less. Our findings suggest that bidders are willing to bid significantly higher to win a specific item - in this case, a specific certificate number - than they are willing to bid to win a specific auction.

Keywords: Pseudo-Endowment Effect, Behavioral and experimental economics, Consumer decision making

JEL Classification: D1, D12, D80

Suggested Citation

Wolf, James R. and Arkes, Hal R. and Muhanna, Waleed A., Do Auction Bidders 'Really' Want to Win the Item, or Do They Simply Want to Win? (January 19, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=764785

James R. Wolf (Contact Author)

Illinois State University ( email )

Campus Box 5150
Normal, IL 61761
United States

Hal R. Arkes

Ohio State University - Department of Psychology ( email )

240N Lazenby Hall
1885 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-1592 (Phone)
614-688-3984 (Fax)

Waleed A. Muhanna

The Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business ( email )

Dept. Accounting & Management Information Systems
2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-3808 (Phone)
614-292-2118 (Fax)

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