Omitted budget constraint bias and implications for competitive pricing

Max Pachali, Peter Kurz, Thomas Otter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Standard choice-based conjoint models often ignore or insufficiently approximate consumers’ budget constraints, despite the prominent role of budget constraints in economic theory. The authors offer a theoretically motivated improvement to the choice-based conjoint model that is especially appropriate for high-ticket durable goods and develop a Bayesian method for the inference of unobserved budget constraints. The proposed method leverages respondents’ stated budget constraints that suffer from measurement error and respondents’ financial demographic variables as additional information to reduce the dependency on functional form assumptions in the estimation. The authors show that accounting for budget constraints substantially increases model fit and the accuracy of competitive pricing in an industry-grade discrete-choice experiment on consumer preferences for high-end laptops. The proposed model performs better than the canonical linear price benchmark model, which is not flexible enough to approximate budget constraints. In theory, more flexible utility specifications, such as the nonlinear dummy price model, can approximate consumers’ budget constraints. However, they perform poorly when only finite data are available. The authors conclude that applied researchers in industry and academia will benefit from having a better tool for estimating budgets in high-ticket categories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-986
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • budget restrictions
  • demand estimation
  • competitive pricing
  • choice-based conjoint
  • Bayesian inference


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