A NEW study conducted by Western Australian researchers appears to show the selling of a sentimental object is significantly comparative to other influences on whether to sell an item.
The research, conducted by Associate Professor Therese Jefferson and Professor Ross Taplin from Curtin University, explored the relationship of how a possession is acquired and how this can affect people’s willingness to sell or trade this item.
According to A/Professor Jefferson, previous studies in the field have shown that the ‘relational source’ of an asset can have many effects, including fiscal and emotional, on the price people might attach to the asset if they are asked about selling it.
“The purpose of this research was to see if the relational source had a bigger influence on decisions than other characteristics that have also been identified as important, such as the value and uniqueness of the goods and the relationship between the seller and buyer,” she says.
For this research, Jefferson and Taplin asked survey participants, using factorial surveys, to consider a scenario involving the selling of an antique watch and asked them to pinpoint the minimum price they were willing to accept for the watch.
“We used an antique watch because this is an item that could feasibly have either a relatively low or high monetary value,” A/Professor Jefferson says.
“This allowed us to keep the different scenarios comparable, except for the specific variables of investigation, in this case, relational source, value, uniqueness and relationship with the buyer.”
According to the results, outcomes were consistent in finding the differences in the unwillingness to sell items from assorted relational sources, such as a gift given by a family member or an item won in a raffle.
One key finding in the study suggested that an item given to an individual by a family member had a significant effect on a participant’s willingness to sell the item, with their distress greater and proposed selling price set higher when selling a watch received from a loved one.
“The key issue of interest was that relational source was the variable with the most dominant effect on pricing and measured distress,” A/Professor Jefferson says.
“This effect was more significant than the effect of different monetary values of the watch – in short, relational source is significantly relative to some other possible influence on selling decisions.”
The paper, titled ‘Relational aspects of decisions to sell’, can be found in upcoming edition of The Journal of Socio-Economics, due to be released in October.