The Exception Is the Rule: Underestimating and Overspending on Exceptional Expenses
AbstractPurchases fall along a continuum from ordinary (common or frequent) to exceptional (unusual or infrequent), with many of the largest expenses (e.g., electronics, celebrations) being the most exceptional. Across seven studies, we show that, while people are fairly adept at budgeting and predicting how much they will spend on ordinary items, they both underestimate their spending on exceptional purchases overall and overspend on each individual purchase. Based on the principles of mental accounting and choice bracketing, we show that this discrepancy arises in part because consumers categorize exceptional expenses too narrowly, construing each as a unique occurrence and consequently overspending across a series of discretely exceptional expenses. We conclude by proposing an intervention that diminishes this tendency by helping consumers consider their spending on exceptional items as part of a larger set of purchases.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.
Volume (Year): 39 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 800 - 814
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Dean Karlan, Aishwarya Lakshmi Ratan, Jonathan Zinman, 2013. "Savings by and for the Poor: A Research Review and Agenda-Working Paper 346," Working Papers 346, Center for Global Development.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.