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Data from: Budget constraints affect male rats’ choices between differently priced commodities

Cite this dataset

van Wingerden, Marijn; Marx, Christine; Kalenscher, Tobias (2016). Data from: Budget constraints affect male rats’ choices between differently priced commodities [Dataset]. Dryad.


Demand theory can be applied to analyse how a human or animal consumer changes her selection of commodities within a certain budget in response to changes in price of those commodities. This change in consumption assessed over a range of prices is defined as demand elasticity. Previously, income-compensated and income-uncompensated price changes have been investigated using human and animal consumers, as demand theory predicts different elasticities for both conditions. However, in these studies, demand elasticity was only evaluated over the entirety of choices made from a budget. As compensating budgets changes the number of attainable commodities relative to uncompensated conditions, and thus the number of choices, it remained unclear whether budget compensation has a trivial effect on demand elasticity by simply sampling from a different total number of choices or has a direct effect on consumers’ sequential choice structure. If the budget context independently changes choices between commodities over and above price effects, this should become apparent when demand elasticity is assessed over choice sets of any reasonable size that are matched in choice opportunities between budget conditions. To gain more detailed insight in the sequential choice dynamics underlying differences in demand elasticity between budget conditions, we trained N=8 rat consumers to spend a daily budget by making a number of nosepokes to obtain two liquid commodities under different price regimes, in sessions with and without budget compensation. We confirmed that demand elasticity for both commodities differed between compensated and uncompensated budget conditions, also when the number of choices considered was matched, and showed that these elasticity differences emerge early in the sessions. These differences in demand elasticity were driven by a higher choice rate and an increased reselection bias for the preferred commodity in compensated compared to uncompensated budget conditions, suggesting a budget context effect on relative valuation.

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