The Intermediate Alternative Effect: Considering a Small Tradeoff Increases Subsequent Willingness to Make Large Tradeoffs

Gabriele Paolacci , Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy
Katherine Burson , University of Michigan, USA
Scott Rick , University of Michigan, USA
Reluctance to part with one’s endowment can leave people in suboptimal states that they would not have freely chosen. We demonstrate that considering making a small tradeoff can reduce the reluctance to subsequently make a large tradeoff. This “intermediate alternative effect” operates by weakening and shifting one’s reference point.
[ to cite ]:
Gabriele Paolacci , Katherine Burson , and Scott Rick (2011) ,"The Intermediate Alternative Effect: Considering a Small Tradeoff Increases Subsequent Willingness to Make Large Tradeoffs", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 143-144.