IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Avoiding Future Regret in Purchase-Timing Decisions

  • Cooke, Alan D J
  • Meyvis, Tom
  • Schwartz, Alan

When deciding when to make a purchase, people often compare their outcomes to those that would have occurred had they purchased earlier or later. In this article, we examine how pre- and postpurchase comparisons affect regret and satisfaction, and whether consumers learn to avoid decisions that result in regret. In the first two experiments, we show that information learned after the purchase has a greater impact on satisfaction than information learned before the purchase. In addition, negative price comparisons have a greater impact on satisfaction than positive comparisons. These results imply that if consumers who receive postpurchase information wish to avoid future feelings of regret, they should defer their purchases longer. Our second two experiments demonstrate this phenomenon: Subjects who were exposed to postchoice information set higher decision thresholds, consistent with the minimization of future regret. Paradoxically, providing subjects with additional postchoice information resulted in decreased average earnings, suggesting that consumers may try to avoid future regret even when doing so conflicts with expected value maximization. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.

If 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.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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

Volume (Year): 27 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (March)
Pages: 447-59

in new window

Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:27:y:2001:i:4:p:447-59
Contact details of provider:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:27:y:2001:i:4:p:447-59. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.