Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Anthony DeFulio

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Baker

Third Advisor

Dr. Douglas Johnson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Steven Hursh


Demand analysis, decision framing, framing, behavioral economics, scarcity


For decades, behavioral economists and behavior analysts have borrowed techniques from one another to investigate human decision making. While there has been little overlap in their work, the union of the two may help to answer important questions about behavior. An emerging behavioral economic topic of interest in the behavior analytic literature is the analysis of how framing affects demand. The purpose of the present studies is to investigate some conditions under which demand is affected by framing and provide a behavior analytic interpretation of those effects. To assess the effects of framing, demand for marketplace items was assessed under time and quantity restrictions. This work consisted of four studies. The first study was an Item Purchase Assessment which was conducted to identify several commonly purchased items. The six items participants indicated they had purchased most and were most likely to purchase in the future were selected for use in subsequent experiments. The second two studies were Restriction Assessments. In these experiments, participants completed hypothetical purchase tasks under three quantity restrictions and three time restrictions. The first Restriction Assessment included quantity restrictions of 1, 10, or 50 items available for purchase, and 1 hour, 1 day, or 1 week available to purchase items. The second Restriction Assessment included restricting items to 100, 10,000, or 100,000 available, and 1 month, 6 months, or 1 year available to purchase items. The results of these experiments were analyzed for differences in demand curve fit parameters (demand intensity and rate of change in elasticity), essential value, and Pmax. From these assessments, three time and three quantity restrictions were selected for the final study.The final study was the Analysis of Demand Under Restriction. In this study, participants completed hypothetical purchase tasks for the six selected items. Quantities of items were restricted to 1, 100, or 100,000. Times to purchase items were restricted to 1 hour, 1 month, or 1 year. Data were analyzed for differences in demand curve parameters, rate of change in elasticity and demand intensity, as well as essential value and Pmax. No significant differences were detected between demand curve parameters. Descriptive statistical analyses revealed that essential value and Pmax increased as restriction increased, suggesting that the value of items increases as they are restricted. These studies represent a successful integration of traditional behavioral economics and behavior analysis. These data provide preliminary evidence to support the conclusion that product scarcity can lead to increased valuation. However, there is still much to be discovered about the conditions under which decision frames affect behavior and the underlying behavioral processes that are involved. The latter will likely require an analysis of verbal behavior in economic contexts.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access