Date of Degree

9-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Business

Advisor(s)

Ana Valenzuela

Committee Members

Lauren Block

Stephen Gould

Marina Carnevale

Subject Categories

Marketing

Keywords

Intertemporal Choice, Time Perception, Event Markers, Valuation, Cross Culture, Time Discounting

Abstract

Intertemporal choice, defined as tradeoffs consumers make between the costs of waiting and the benefits of larger reward size, is an important and ubiquitous effect in marketing. Individuals’ perception of time has been shown to impact intertemporal choice. Event markers are demarcations that cut time duration into intervals and make time discrete rather than continuous. Event markers impact individuals’ decision making, such that a large number of event markers make individuals perceive the future to be far away. Therefore, when faced with an intertemporal choice, they take a Small-Sooner (SS) reward rather than waiting for a Large-Later (LL) reward. The current paper demonstrates that not only can the number of event markers impact intertemporal choice, but also the characteristics of event markers, namely salience, controllability, and connecting trend changes of event markers can influence intertemporal choice. These characteristics are especially relevant when individuals are making a judgement or a decision for their future. Seven studies conducted provide evidence of these upstream effects on time perception and show that individuals in the following situations will prefer an immediate smaller reward over a larger reward in the future: 1) when they have past events salient in their mind, 2) when they feel low internal controllability, and believe in fatalism related to their futures, and 3) when they believe the passage of time from the past to the future follows a trend which may reverse at any time and thus is full of changes. The underlying process and boundary conditions along with implications for consumers and marketers are discussed.

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