Can Small Victories Help Win the War? Evidence From Consumer Debt Management

David Gal , Northwestern University, USA
Blake McShane , Northwestern University, USA
Should consumers pay off small debts ahead of larger ones? Using a data set tracking consumer debt repayment, we find that closing debt accounts, regardless of the size of the debt accounts, is predictive of eliminating one's debts. These findings suggest that completing discrete subgoals motivates overall goal attainment.
[ to cite ]:
David Gal and Blake McShane (2012) ,"Can Small Victories Help Win the War? Evidence From Consumer Debt Management", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 40, eds. Zeynep G├╝rhan-Canli, Cele Otnes, and Rui (Juliet) Zhu, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 187-190.