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Saving, Spending, and Self-Control: Cognition versus Consumer Culture


  • Martha A. Starr

    (Department of Economics, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20016,


Recent economic literature puts forth “behavioral†perspectives on self-control as a means of understanding oddities of consumer behavior: spending too much, saving too little, borrowing too much on costly credit cards. This article argues that the behavioral emphasis on cognition overlooks the extent to which issues of self-control are framed, elaborated, and sustained as problematics of contemporary consumer culture. As such, they are rooted as much in the social, cultural, and economic dynamics of capitalism as they are in the human mind.

Suggested Citation

  • Martha A. Starr, 2007. "Saving, Spending, and Self-Control: Cognition versus Consumer Culture," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 39(2), pages 214-229, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:39:y:2007:i:2:p:214-229

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    Cited by:

    1. Pan, Li (Sunny) & Pezzuti, Todd & Lu, Wei & Pechmann, Cornelia (Connie), 2019. "Hyperopia and frugality: Different motivational drivers and yet similar effects on consumer spending," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 347-356.


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