The effect of giving it all up on valuation: A new look at the endowment effect Academic Article uri icon


  • In three experiments we show that the endowment effect—the tendency to demand more money for relinquishing owned goods than one is willing to pay for the same goods—fails to emerge when sellers are not fully depleted of their endowment. This finding is incompatible with prospect theory's account of the effect as stemming primarily from aversion to loss relative to the individual's current state. We suggest a new account of the endowment effect as reflecting the human aversion to “giving it all up” rather than simply an aversion to incurring any loss relative to the status quo. Experiments 1 and 2 show the effect employing a pricing paradigm. Experiment 3 examines what constitutes “all” in the giving-it-all-up effect. This paper was accepted by Uri Gneezy, behavioral economics.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014