Checking Out Temptation: An Natural Experiment with Purchases at the Grocery Register
AbstractA long literature in psychology, as well as a more recent theory literature in economics, suggests that prolonged exposure to a tempting stimulus can eventually lead people to "succumb" to that temptation. Here we develop a model for decision under temptation, and test its predictions using data from a natural experiment. We take advantage of naturally occurring, exogenous variation in the amount of time individual consumers spend waiting in grocery store checkout lines. We collect over 2,800 observations from three grocery stores. We obtain robust evidence that time spent in line economically and statistically significantly increases the probability that one purchases a tempting item. For example, people who wait in line 25 percent longer than average are about 17 percent more likely to purchase a tempting item. Moreover, for any fixed time in line, we find that the presence of a child significantly increases the likelihood of a purchase. These results are consistent with models that connect purchasing decisions to temptation, and also suggest that children yield to temptation more rapidly than adults. Our results offer novel quantitative and empirical content to the rapidly expanding economics literature on decisions under temptation.
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 InfoPaper provided by George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science in its series Working Papers with number 1001.
Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision: Nov 2008
You can help add them by filling out this form.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Who Understands Specialization and Trade?
by Agent Continuum in Agent Continuum on 2010-01-18 16:09:44
- Taylor Jaworski & Bart J. Wilson, 2009.
"Go West Young Man: Self-selection and Endogenous Property Rights,"
09-02, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
- Taylor Jaworski & Bart J. Wilson, 2013. "Go West Young Man: Self-Selection and Endogenous Property Rights," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 886-904, April.
- Bart J. Wilson & Taylor Jaworski & Karl Schurter & Andrew Smyth, 2010.
"The Ecological and Civil Mainsprings of Property: An Experimental Economic History of Whalers’ Rules of Capture,"
10-12, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
- Bart J. Wilson & Taylor Jaworski & Karl E. Schurter & Andrew Smyth, 2012. "The Ecological and Civil Mainsprings of Property: An Experimental Economic History of Whalers' Rules of Capture," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(4), pages 617-656, October.
- Bart J. Wilson, 2012.
"Contra Private Fairness,"
American Journal of Economics and Sociology,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 407-435, 04.
- Tyler Watts, 2010. "Arbitrage and knowledge," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 79-96, March.
- Sean Crockett & VernonL. Smith & BartJ. Wilson, 2009.
"Exchange and Specialisation as a Discovery Process,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1162-1188, 07.
- Sean Crockett & Vernon Smith & Bart Wilson, 2006. "Exchange and Specialization as a Discovery Process," Working Papers 1002, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised May 2006.
- Cary Deck, 2009. "An experimental analysis of cooperation and productivity in the trust game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-11, March.
- Zhao, Liang & Zhu, Xian Chen, 2007. "A Discussion on Empirical Micro-Bases of Hayek’s Methodological Individualism," MPRA Paper 3862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Alessandro Bucciol & Daniel Houser & Marco Piovesan, 2010. "Willpower in children and adults: a survey of results and economic implications," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 259-267, September.
- Leonhard K. Lades, 2012. "Impulsive Consumption and Reflexive Thought: Nudging Ethical Consumer Behavior," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-03, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
- Dolan, P. & Hallsworth, M. & Halpern, D. & King, D. & Metcalfe, R. & Vlaev, I., 2012. "Influencing behaviour: The mindspace way," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 264-277.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stan Tsirulnikov).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.