Drittmittelgefördertes Projekt
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

Time Pressure and Regret in Sequential Search

Perceived urgency and regret are common in many sequential search processes; for example, sellers often pressure buyers in search of the best offer, both time-wise and in terms of potential regret of forgoing unique purchasing opportunities. Theoretically, these strategies result in anticipated and experienced regret, which systematically affect search behavior and thereby distort optimal search. In addition, urgency may alter decision-making processes and thereby the salience of regret. To understand the empirical relevance of these aspects, we study the causal effects of regret, urgency, and their interaction on search behavior in a pre-registered, theory-based, and well-powered experiment. Empirically, we find that anticipated regret does not affect search behavior either with or without time pressure, while experienced regret leads to systematic adjustments in search length. Urgency reduces decision times and perceived decision quality, but does not generally alter search length. Only very inexperienced decision-makers buy earlier when pressured. Thus, consumer protection measures against pressure selling tactics can help inexperienced consumers in particular.

Published in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2022.12.019

This project is a cooperation between the sub-projects A04 and B04 of the collaborative research center  “Sonderforschungsbereich/Transregio 190 Rationality and Competition” funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).