Date of this Version
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization
We study the effect of small windfalls on consumer spending decisions by comparing the purchases online grocery customers make when redeeming $10-off coupons with the purchases they make without coupons. Controlling for customer fixed effects and other variables, we find that grocery spending increases by $1.59 when a $10-off coupon is redeemed. The extra spending associated with coupon redemption is focused on groceries that a customer does not typically buy. These results are consistent with the theory of mental accounting but are not consistent with the standard permanent income or lifecycle theory of consumption. While the hypotheses we test are motivated by mental accounting, we also discuss some alternative psychological explanations for our findings.
© . This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Mental accounting, windfalls, marginal propensity to consume, coupons
Milkman, K. L., & Beshears, J. (2009). Mental Accounting and Small Windfalls: Evidence From an Online Grocer. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 71 (2), 384-394. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2009.04.007
Date Posted: 27 November 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.