Marketing Letters

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 127–138 | Cite as

What really matters in attraction effect research: when choices have economic consequences

  • Marcel Lichters
  • Paul Bengart
  • Marko SarstedtEmail author
  • Bodo Vogt


Researchers have recently strongly questioned the robustness of the attraction effect, according to which adding a decoy option to an existing choice set affects consumers’ choice behavior. Tying in with this debate, we identify the persistent use of hypothetical choices in the domain to be a major shortcoming in attraction effect research. In an experiment on the attraction effect with a realistic choice setting that fosters external validity, we manipulate the choice framing by contrasting hypothetical choices with binding choices that entail economic consequences. We find the attraction effect to be much stronger when decisions are binding, underlining the effect’s usefulness as a marketing tool.


Asymmetrical dominance Attraction effect Context effect No-buy option Real payments 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcel Lichters
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul Bengart
    • 1
  • Marko Sarstedt
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Bodo Vogt
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Empirical Economics, Faculty of Economics and ManagementOtto-von-Guericke-University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Department Business StudiesHarz University of Applied SciencesWernigerodeGermany
  3. 3.Institute for MarketingOtto-von-Guericke-University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  4. 4.Faculty of Business and LawUniversity of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  5. 5.Epidemiology and Health Economics, Faculty of MedicineInstitute for Social MedicineMagdeburgGermany

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