Today's Tidbit: More Is Less

More Is Less

There are two sets of baseball cards:

  • A = Contains 7 top players.
  • B = Contains the same 7 top players, plus 3 so-so players.

There are also three groups of people who are going to bid on them:

  1. Shown both A and B and asked to bid for them separately.
  2. Shown only A and asked to bid for them.
  3. Shown only B and asked to bid for them.

Not surprisingly, Group 1 bid higher for B than A. The more the merrier, right? What is surprising is that Group 2 bid higher for A than Group 3 bid for B. Why?

The claim is that the set of so-so players tarnishes the value of package. So, if you're a baseball player and want to look good to collectors, hit more home runs.


  • John List, "Preference Reversals of a Different Kind: The 'More is Less' Phenomenon"

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