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Pennies-a-Day: The Effect of Temporal Reframing on Transaction Evaluation


  • Gourville, John T


To increase transaction compliance, marketers sometimes temporally reframe the cost of a product from an aggregate one-time expense to a series of small ongoing expenses, often in spite of the fact that the physical payments remain aggregated. This temporal reframing is identified in this article as the "pennies-a-day" (PAD) strategy. A two-step consumer decision-making process of (1) comparison retrieval and (2) transaction evaluation is posited to explain effectiveness of this strategy. In a series of laboratory studies, general support for PAD effectiveness across a range of product categories and specific support for the proposed two-step model was found. The PAD framing of a target transaction is shown to systematically foster the retrieval and consideration of small ongoing expenses as the standard of comparison, whereas an aggregate framing of that same transaction is shown to foster the retrieval and consideration of large infrequent expenses. This difference in retrieval is shown to significantly influence subsequent transaction evaluation and compliance. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Gourville, John T, 1998. " Pennies-a-Day: The Effect of Temporal Reframing on Transaction Evaluation," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 395-408, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:24:y:1998:i:4:p:395-408
    DOI: 10.1086/209517

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
    3. Terence J. McElvaney & Peter D. Lunn & Féidhlim P. McGowan, 2018. "Do Consumers Understand PCP Car Finance? An Experimental Investigation," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 229-255, September.
    4. Willem Boom, 2011. "Price Intransparency, Consumer Decision Making and European Consumer Law," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 359-376, September.
    5. Khwaja, Ahmed & Silverman, Dan & Sloan, Frank & Wang, Yang, 2007. "Smoking, wealth accumulation and the propensity to plan," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 96-103, January.
    6. Bambauer-Sachse, Silke & Grewal, Dhruv, 2011. "Temporal Reframing of Prices: When Is It Beneficial?," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 156-165.
    7. Schulz, Fabian & Schlereth, Christian & Mazar, Nina & Skiera, Bernd, 2015. "Advance payment systems: Paying too much today and being satisfied tomorrow," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 238-250.
    8. Bambauer-Sachse, Silke & Christina Mangold, Sabrina, 2009. "Are temporally reframed prices really advantageous? A more detailed look at the processes triggered by temporally reframed prices," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 451-457.
    9. Duxbury, Darren & Summers, Barbara & Hudson, Robert & Keasey, Kevin, 2013. "How people evaluate defined contribution, annuity-based pension arrangements: A behavioral exploration," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 256-269.
    10. Raghubir, Priya, 2006. "An information processing review of the subjective value of money and prices," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(10-11), pages 1053-1062, October.
    11. Helen Colby & Gretchen B. Chapman, 2013. "Savings, subgoals, and reference points," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(1), pages 16-24, January.
    12. C. Lembregts & M. Pandelaere, 2012. "Are All Units Created Equal?: The Effect of Default Units on Product Evaluations," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/812, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    13. Jieyao Ding, 2012. "A Portfolio of Dilemmas: Experimental Evidence on Choice Bracketing in a Mini-Trust Game," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_06, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    14. Shirai, Miyuri, 2017. "Effects of price reframing tactics on consumer perceptions," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 82-87.
    15. Bernadette Kamleitner & Erich Kirchler, 2006. "Personal loan users’ mental integration of payment and consumption," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 281-294, December.
    16. Stefanie Heinzle, 2012. "Disclosure of Energy Operating Cost Information: A Silver Bullet for Overcoming the Energy-Efficiency Gap?," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 43-64, March.
    17. Pick, Doreén & Zielke, Stephan, 2015. "How electricity providers communicate price increases – A qualitative analysis of notification letters," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 303-314.
    18. Pillai, Kishore Gopalakrishna & Kumar, V., 2012. "Differential Effects of Value Consciousness and Coupon Proneness on Consumers’ Persuasion Knowledge of Pricing Tactics," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 20-33.
    19. repec:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2012:i:1:p:53-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5853 is not listed on IDEAS

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