Time Pressure and Regret in Sequential Search


Felix Klimm (LMU Munich and CESifo)
Martin G. Kocher (University of Vienna, CESifo and University of Gothenburg)
Timm Opitz (MPI and LMU Munich)
Simeon Schudy (LMU Munich and CESifo)


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 and 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.


sequential search; time pressure; regret; anticipated regret; experienced regret


C91; D01; D03; D18; D83


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Time Pressure and Regret in Sequential Search
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