In common language, the effect has been called "throwing good money after bad" as when an investor continues to purchase stock despite a precipitous decline in stock price.
In "sunk relationships," one partner may invest considerable effort to win the other back even though friends agree there is little or no hope for restoring the relationship.
People may hang on to old clothes they have rarely or never worn just because they spent so much on the purchase.
The sunk cost effect can also be seen in religion. For example, people who have a firm commitment to a belief despite evidence that many holding a similar faith no longer hold such a rigid belief. The religious person may vigorously invest time, effort, and money defending the previously held belief. This sunk cost effect has been applied to beliefs that divide Christians (Sutton, 2013, 2016).
Arkes & Blumer (1985) linked the sunk cost effect a desire not to appear wasteful in people who increased their attendance following the high price paid more for a season ticket (10.1016/0749-5978(85)90049-4).
Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.