Spending doesn't happen in a vacuum : three essays on psychological factors of consumer spending




Alberhasky, Max

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



If you are anything like me, the days that go by without spending any money at all are few and far between. As societies have developed, it would seem that spending money on a frequent basis has become a way of life for many consumers. A seemingly endless and ever-increasing number of brands, social occasions, and websites/applications provide an abundance of opportunities for us to part ways with our money. Scenarios such as grabbing a couple of drinks with a friend after work, buying a gift for an upcoming birthday celebration, or purchasing tickets online to an upcoming sporting event all involve seemingly straightforward transactions which involve spending money. My dissertation contributes to the consumer financial decision-making literature by examining how interpersonal features (between consumers, essays 1 & 2, between business and consumer, essay 3) of a purchasing scenario may impact the decisions consumers make or the satisfaction consumers derive from spending their money. In this dissertation, I explore how the method of payment consumers use to pay for a shared experience can impact the enjoyment of an experience (essay 1), how income inequality in relationships can impact spending on gifts (essay 2), and how the pricing structure retailers offer to consumers can impact their perceived trustworthiness and purchase intent (essay 3). In my first essay, we propose that the method of payment consumers use to pay for shared experience can impact how transactional the payment is perceived to be, which has downstream consequences on the enjoyment of an experience. My second essay examines how relative income, or income inequality, in social relationships can impact the amount of money consumers spend on gifts. We find that when gift-givers earn relatively more than the gift recipient, they engage in more prosocial spending via buying more expensive gifts, on average, compared to buying a gift for a recipient who earns relatively more than themselves. In my third essay, we study how the pricing structure retailers choose to convey to customers can impact how trustworthy the retailer appears, which subsequently influences purchase intentions.



LCSH Subject Headings