A Psychological Twist in Getting Something for Nothing

The Wall Street Journal:

When consumers are offered something for nothing, they generally want to pay anyway.

That’s according to a new study and a handful of businesses that say “pay-what-you-want” options for products often drive customers to pay a full price or just skip buying.

Why would people act against their own economic interest? To protect self image, researchers say.

Consumers “feel bad when they pay less than the ‘appropriate’ price, causing them to pass on the opportunity to purchase the product altogether,” says the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Generally this paper is about peoples’ aversion to feeling bad about themselves,” says lead researcher Ayelet Gneezy, assistant professor of marketing at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego.

Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal

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