Selling the forest, buying the trees: The effect of construal level on seller-buyer price discrepancy

Caglar Irmak, Cheryl J. Wakslak, Yaacov Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four studies demonstrate that selling and buying prices are differentially influenced by the value of products' low-and high-level construal features. The study shows that sellers construe products at a higher level than do buyers and owners. Based on this, this study predicts and demonstrates that selling prices exceed buying prices when (1) the object's primary aspects are superior and the object's secondary aspects are inferior but not vice versa, (2) individuals focus on a product's desirability-related aspects rather than the same product's feasibility-related aspects, (3) individuals are in a "why" mind-set but not when they are in a "how" mind-set, and (4) the product's desirability aspects are superior and its feasibility aspects inferior but not vice versa. Further, sellers' and buyers' differential construal mediates the difference between seller and buyer prices, which emerges when a product's value derives from high-level features but not from low-level features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-297
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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