The Limits of Fungibility: Relational Schemata and the Value of Things
11 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2010
Date Written: September 2003
Four experiments test predictions on endowment and mental accounting effects of a theoretical perspective that stresses the symbolic-relational significance for consumer transactions and that posits the placement of qualitative boundaries on fungibility. Although people accepted proposals to buy objects acquired in market- pricing relationships as routine, the same proposals in communal-sharing, authority-ranking, and equality-matching relationships triggered distress and errati- cally high dollar valuations. Symbolic ownership history also moderated valuations in a purely market setting, and the effects of symbolic-relational source of income extended even to spending decisions. Examination of the model's ordinal predic- tions revealed stronger effects for equality-matching than for authority-ranking relationships.
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