Narratives and Valuations

Last registered on September 30, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Narratives and Valuations
Initial registration date
September 17, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 17, 2021, 8:48 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
September 30, 2023, 6:19 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


Primary Investigator

University of Pittsburgh

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
While the significance of narrative thinking has become increasingly recognized by economists, very little empirical research has documented its consequences for economically significant behaviors and outcomes. We address this gap in one important domain: valuations. In two online experiments, participants either told the story of an item they owned (mug in study 1, hat in 2) or listed its characteristics and were then offered the opportunity to sell it via an incentive-compatible procedure. The narrative treatment led to substantially higher selling prices (20-80% increase) and nearly doubled unwillingness to sell rates. The impact of different narrative types was also explored.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Morag, Dor and George Loewenstein. 2023. "Narratives and Valuations." AEA RCT Registry. September 30.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness to Accept (WTA) in USD, and unwillingness to sell (refusing to sell at any offered price)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Acceptance to trade personal item for the same exact item but new, cost proxy, ownership length, other- or career-related narrative, experience type, possession narrative, word count, used often, custom made.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Participants' answers to a post-MPL questionnaire, all except the first are used as explanatory variables.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants choose a mug they already owned (not knowing why) and are then randomized to a high or low likelihood of narrative thinking. Finally, participants are offered to sell their items to the experimenter, and their willingness to accept (WTA) is elicited through incentivized multiple price lists (where one decision might be randomly selected to count).
Experimental Design Details
We manipulate the likelihood of narrative thinking by asking participants to describe their self-selected item with either a story (narrative thinking) or a list (analytical thinking). Thus, participants naturally create their own stimuli in the same way they would in real life. Note that at the time the item is chosen, participants are blind to the consequences of their choice (i.e., they don't know they'll be offered to sell it).
Randomization Method
Digital randomization for the treatment arms, and a public lottery for the binding decisions in the MPL.
Randomization Unit
The individual is the randomized unit of treatment and control, and individual-decision touple (e.g., subject 104, decision 32) is the randomized unit for the lottery.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
500 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
250 list condition, 250 narrative condition
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Human Judgment and Decision-Making
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
September 30, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
September 30, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials