Does winning an experimental auction change people's behavior? An application to e-cigarettes
Experimental auctions allow researchers to estimate demand for products like e-cigarettes in a non-hypothetical environment where participants face real and immediate consequences for their bids. However, because auction winners actually purchase the product they bid on, participants may be introduced to a product they otherwise would not have discovered. Based on an experimental auction where 432 participants bid to buy e-cigarettes, we found that auction winners are significantly more likely to be using e-cigarettes two weeks, six weeks, and six months after the study but are no less likely to be daily cigarette smokers. This result holds even after controlling for prior e-cigarette use, strength of participants’ initial demand for e-cigarettes, and demographic characteristics.