The New York Times:
I try to be frugal. But my instincts as a consumer are mistaken. Behavioral economics suggests that I’m often frugal in the wrong way and that you may be, too.
Consider this situation: You’re shopping for headphones. An electronics store has the model you want for $50, a reasonable price. But a sales clerk says: “You know our other branch has this item on sale for $40.” Going to that store will take 30 minutes, and you can’t buy the headphones for that price online. Do you go to the other branch?
Research by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, the psychologists whose work helped spawn behavioral economics, suggests that people are more likely to make the trip for the $40 headphones than for the $385 speakers.
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