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Spent Resources: Self-Regulatory Resource Availability Affects Impulse Buying


  • Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Ronald J. Faber


This research investigated impulse buying as resulting from the depletion of a common-but limited-resource that governs self-control. In three investigations, participants' self-regulatory resources were depleted or not; later, impulsive spending responses were measured. Participants whose resources were depleted, relative to participants whose resources were not depleted, felt stronger urges to buy, were willing to spend more, and actually did spend more money in unanticipated buying situations. Participants having depleted resources reported being influenced equally by affective and cognitive factors and purchased products that were high on each factor at equal rates. Hence, self-regulatory resource availability predicts whether people can resist impulse buying temptations. (c) 2007 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Kathleen D. Vohs & Ronald J. Faber, 2007. "Spent Resources: Self-Regulatory Resource Availability Affects Impulse Buying," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 537-547, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:33:y:2007:i:4:p:537-547

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    2. Abraham Yeboah & Vida Owusu-Prempeh, 2017. "Exploring the Consumer Impulse Buying Behaviour from a Range of Consumer and Product Related Factors," International Journal of Marketing Studies, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 9(2), pages 146-159, April.
    3. Qiang Yan & Lingli Wang & Wenjing Chen & Junghoo Cho, 2016. "Study on the influencing factors of unplanned consumption in a large online promotion activity," Electronic Commerce Research, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 453-477, December.
    4. Yinlong Zhang & L.J. Shrum, "undated". "The Influence of Self-Construal on Impulsive Consumption," Working Papers 0006, College of Business, University of Texas at San Antonio.
    5. Hoel, Jessica B. & Schwab, Benjamin & Hoddinott, John, 2016. "Self-control exertion and the expression of time preference: Experimental results from Ethiopia," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 136-146.
    6. Lades, Leonhard K., 2014. "Impulsive consumption and reflexive thought: Nudging ethical consumer behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 114-128.
    7. Chi, Nai-Wen & Chang, Huo-Tsan & Huang, Hsien-Lier, 2015. "Can personality traits and daily positive mood buffer the harmful effects of daily negative mood on task performance and service sabotage? A self-control perspective," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 1-15.
    8. Michael J. Dorsch & Kjell Y. Törnblom & Ali Kazemi, 2017. "A Review of Resource Theories and Their Implications for Understanding Consumer Behavior," Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 5-25.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:80-94 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Massara, Francesco & Liu, Sandra S. & Melara, Robert D., 2010. "Adapting to a retail environment: Modeling consumer-environment interactions," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(7), pages 673-681, July.
    11. Bucciol, Alessandro & Houser, Daniel & Piovesan, Marco, 2011. "Temptation and productivity: A field experiment with children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 126-136.
    12. de Langhe, B. & Sweldens, S.T.L.R. & van Osselaer, S.M.J. & Tuk, M.A., 2008. "The Emotional Information Processing System is Risk Averse: Ego-Depletion and Investment Behavior," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2008-064-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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    15. Tammie Ronen & Liat Hamama & Michael Rosenbaum & Ayla Mishely-Yarlap, 2016. "Subjective Well-Being in Adolescence: The Role of Self-Control, Social Support, Age, Gender, and Familial Crisis," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 81-104, February.
    16. Punj, Girish, 2011. "Impulse buying and variety seeking: Similarities and differences," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(7), pages 745-748, July.
    17. Achtziger, Anja & Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Wagner, Alexander K., 2016. "The impact of self-control depletion on social preferences in the ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-16.
    18. Palma, Marco & Segovia, Michelle & Kassas, Bachir & Ribera, Luis & Hall, Charles, 2016. "The Effects of Self-Control on Subsequent Purchasing Decisions," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235987, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    19. Xu, Xun & Zeng, Shuo & He, Yuanjie, 2017. "The influence of e-services on customer online purchasing behavior toward remanufactured products," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 113-125.
    20. Janssen, Loes & Fennis, Bob M. & Pruyn, Ad Th.H. & Vohs, Kathleen D., 2008. "The path of least resistance: Regulatory resource depletion and the effectiveness of social influence techniques," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(10), pages 1041-1045, October.
    21. Carolina Laureti & Ariane Szafarz, 2012. "The Time-Inconsistency Factor: How Banks Adapt to their Mix of Savers," Working Papers CEB 12-035, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    22. repec:kap:jbuset:v:143:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2792-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Sharma, Piyush & Sivakumaran, Bharadhwaj & Marshall, Roger, 2010. "Impulse buying and variety seeking: A trait-correlates perspective," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 276-283, March.
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    25. Bossuyt, Saar & Vermeir, Iris & Slabbinck, Hendrik & De Bock, Tine & Van Kenhove, Patrick, 2017. "The compelling urge to misbehave: Do impulse purchases instigate unethical consumer behavior?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 60-76.

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