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Payment Depreciation: The Behavioral Effects of Temporally Separating Payments from Consumption

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  • Gourville, John T
  • Soman, Dilip
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    Abstract

    Research suggests that individuals mentally track the costs and benefits of a consumer transaction for the purpose of reconciling those costs and benefits on completion of the transaction (Prelec and Loewenstein 1998; Thaler 1980,1985). In transactions where costs precede benefits, this can lead to a systematic and economically irrational attention to sunk costs (Arkes and Blumer 1985; Thaler 1980). In this article, we consider economic exchanges in which costs significantly precede benefits, as with many prepayment types of consumer transactions. We predict a consumer will gradually adapt to a historic cost with the passage of time, thereby decreasing its sunk-cost impact on the consumption of a pending benefit. We label this process of gradual adaptation to costs 'payment depreciation." In a series of experiments, we find evidence of payment depreciation across a range of consumer transactions and offer insight into the behavioral implications of temporally separating costs from benefits. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 25 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 2 (September)
    Pages: 160-74

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:25:y:1998:i:2:p:160-74

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    Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/

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    Cited by:
    1. Bernadette Kamleitner, 2008. "Coupling: the implicit assumption behind sunk cost effect and related phenomena," Working Papers 22, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    2. Liu, Hsin-Hsien, 2013. "How promotional frames affect upgrade intentions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 237-248.
    3. Kirchler, Erich & Hoelzl, Erik & Kamleitner, Bernadette, 2008. "Spending and credit use in the private household," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 519-532, April.
    4. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2004. "Overestimating Self_Control: Evidence from the Health Club Industry," NBER Working Papers 10819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Martin, Ingrid M. & Kamins, Michael A. & Pirouz, Dante M. & Davis, Scott W. & Haws, Kelly L. & Mirabito, Ann M. & Mukherjee, Sayantani & Rapp, Justine M. & Grover, Aditi, 2013. "On the road to addiction: The facilitative and preventive roles of marketing cues," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1219-1226.
    6. Chu, Hsunchi & Liao, Shuling, 2010. "Buying while expecting to sell: The economic psychology of online resale," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(9-10), pages 1073-1078, September.
    7. Shafir, Eldar & Thaler, Richard H., 2006. "Invest now, drink later, spend never: On the mental accounting of delayed consumption," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 694-712, October.
    8. Hsu, Yuan-Lin & Chow, Edward H., 2013. "The house money effect on investment risk taking: Evidence from Taiwan," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1102-1115.
    9. Yang, Sha & Markoczy, Livia & Qi, Min, 2007. "Unrealistic optimism in consumer credit card adoption," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 170-185, April.
    10. Bernadette Kamleitner & Erich Kirchler, 2006. "Personal loan users’ mental integration of payment and consumption," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 281-294, December.
    11. Jackson, Scott B. & Rodgers, Theodore C. & Tuttle, Brad, 2010. "The effect of depreciation method choice on asset selling prices," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 757-774, November.
    12. Gino, Francesca, 2008. "Do we listen to advice just because we paid for it? The impact of advice cost on its use," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 234-245, November.
    13. van Putten, Marijke & Zeelenberg, Marcel & van Dijk, Eric, 2013. "How consumers deal with missed discounts: Transaction decoupling, action orientation and inaction inertia," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 104-110.
    14. Bolton, R.N. & Lemo, K.N. & Verhoef, P.C., 2002. "The Theoretical Underpinnings of Customer Asset Management," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2002-80-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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