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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Too Much for Your Own Good: The Effects of Abundance on Temporal Discounting

Published: May 28, 2019


Gergely Nyilasy, University of Melbourne


Scarcity; Resource theory; Consumer decision-making


Existing literature supports the hypothesis that the psychological experience of scarcity (feeling lacking sufficient resources) impairs consumers’ cognitive and decision-making performance. Further, an abundance mindset is assumed to restore normal cognitive functioning and decision-making. Empirical work reported in this paper tests this second assumption by explicitly manipulating abundance mindsets in contrast with previous work where abundance conditions had been stimulus-free (“nothing”) controls. Contributing to scarcity theory, the results show that abundance does not improve decision-making outcomes such as temporal discounting. The study has implications for theory, experimental methodology and policy interventions in the area.