When two plus two is not equal to four: Errors in processing multiple percentage changes

Haipeng Chen, Akshay R. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

When evaluating the net impact of a series of percentage changes, we predict that consumers may employ a "whole number" computational strategy that yields a systematic error in their calculation. We report on three studies conducted to examine this issue. In the first study we identify the computational error and demonstrate its consequences. In a second study, we identify several theoretically driven boundary conditions for the observed phenomenon. Finally we demonstrate in a real-world retail setting that, consistent with our premise, sequential percentage discounts generate more purchasers, sales, revenue, and profit than the economically equivalent single percentage discount.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-340
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

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