Extra-experimental scarcity impacts hypothetical operant demand: A natural SARS-CoV-2 eperiment

Derek D. Reed, Brent A. Kaplan, Fernanda S. Oda, Justin C. Strickland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioral economic demand models quantify the extent to which an organism defends its consumption of a commodity. Commodity purchase tasks permit humans a quick yet psychometrically sound approach to assessing commodity demand for various retail products. Operant behavioral economic literature suggests economy type (open vs closed) can significantly alter demand, yet this effect is largely undocumented in the commodity purchase task literature. In this study, we leveraged the market pressures for retail goods (hand lotion and sanitizer; paper towels and toilet paper; soda and water) resulting from SARS-CoV-2 into a natural experiment comparing within-subject demand across two time-points during the pandemic using a crowdsourced approach. Results suggest that hypothetical commodity purchase tasks are sensitive to extra-experimental market pressures (e.g., scarcity due to the closing of economies), adding additional confidence to the self-report nature of purchase task responding and providing further construct validity to these approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104817
JournalBehavioural Processes
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Strickland’s work on this project was supported by R03DA054098.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Behavioral economics
  • COVID-19
  • Demand
  • Economy type
  • Scarcity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Extra-experimental scarcity impacts hypothetical operant demand: A natural SARS-CoV-2 eperiment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this