When Payments Go Social: The Use of Person-to-Person Payment Methods Attenuates the Endowment Effect

Liang Huang, Jennifer Savary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The authors examine how person-to-person (P2P) payment methods affect consumers’ participative pricing decisions. Participative pricing occurs when people choose how much to pay for a good or how much they will sell it for. This pricing mechanism is increasingly common, for example, on platforms like Craigslist, eBay, or Etsy. A successful transaction requires that consumers converge on a mutually acceptable price, yet decades of research on the endowment effect show that sellers often demand more for goods than buyers are willing to pay. The authors propose that compared with traditional payment methods, when consumers use P2P payments they make somewhat more cooperative pricing decisions: buyers are willing to pay a bit more and sellers are willing to accept a bit less. This attenuates the endowment effect and increases the odds of a successful trade. This occurs because even when the trade is with a stranger, P2P payments can subtly activate a social transaction context, cuing the social transaction pricing norm of making more cooperative pricing offers. The authors test these proposals in eight studies using consequential and hypothetical choices, moderation, and mediated moderation. A simulation indicates that compared with traditional payment methods, the use of P2P payments can increase successful transactions in a marketplace by nearly 10%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • digital payment
  • mobile payment
  • P2P payment methods
  • participative pricing decision
  • person-to-person payment
  • social norms
  • social transactions
  • the endowment effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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