“Effort-as-Information”: the impact of decision-related effort on subsequent evaluation and price judgment

Kim, J
Kim, J
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Journal Article
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Association for Consumer Research

Decision-related effort is an important factor in understanding consumers’ decision-making and consumption behavior. In this research, we examine how decision-related effort influences evaluation and price judgment (i.e., WTA or WTP) for a chosen option. Two experiments demonstrate that consumers’ evaluations and price judgments are higher for an option that requiring high effort than for an option requiring low effort with respect to two products: lottery tickets and printers. This research also shows that this result can be moderated by the time interval between a choice and a subsequent judgment.

Background Decision-related effort is an important factor in understanding consumers’ decision-making and consumption behavior. For example, it is assumed that consumers attempt to reduce decision-related effort in their decision-making (Bettman, Luce, and Payne 1998; Payne, Bettman, and Johnson 1993). In fact, several research streams suggest a direct relationship between effort and decision-making. Particularly speaking, they suggest that effort influences: (i) the selection of decision heuristics (e.g., compensatory vs. noncompensatory rules, Payne, Bettman, and Johnson 1993); (ii) the justification for choosing luxury over necessity goods or choosing a more-risky over a less-risky option (Kivetz 2003; Kivetz and Simonson 2002); and (iii) the evaluation of objects (Kruger, Wirtz, Boven, and Altermatt 2004). Specifically, Kruger et al. (2004) introduce the concept of “effort heuristics.” They propose that people have a tendency to use effort as a basis for their evaluations. They provide empirical evidence by showing that the participants in their study evaluated a poem more favorably when they thought that the poet took more time (i.e., 18 hours) to write the poem than when they thought that the poet took less time (i.e., 4 hours). In this study, the effort that the poet spent, however, is not related to the decision per se, and the decision-maker did not generate any decision–related effort. Thus, the effort investigated in Kruger et al. (2004)’s research involves other- rather than selfgenerated effort. In this study, we are more interested in investigating the impact of decision-related effort on product evaluation and price judgment toward a chosen option. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of self-generated or/and decision-related effort on the evaluation of a decision outcome (i.e., a chosen alternative).
Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35(1), eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, pp.934 - 935
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