Joint Versus Separate Evaluations of Mental Accounts

Joint Versus Separate Evaluations of Mental Accounts


Subimal Chatterjee, Binghamton University

Junhong Min, Binghamton University



In three experiments, we show that how consumers mentally organize, and act upon, the costs and benefits of transactions depend upon whether their preferences for the transactions are elicited in isolation (separate evaluation) or together (joint evaluation).  We test two popular decision problems from mental accounting research, the “theater ticket” problem, and the “game and snowstorm” problem.  We find that a lost $10 theater ticket deters consumers from going to the theater more than a lost $10 bill in separate evaluations, but not in joint evaluations.  Conversely, a $40 paid game ticket makes consumers risk driving through a snowstorm more than a $40 free ticket in joint evaluations, but not in separate evaluations.  Implications of the results on the normative status of mental accounting research are discussed.


Subimal Chatterjee and Junhong Min (2006) ,"Joint Versus Separate Evaluations of Mental Accounts", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 562-563.


Subimal Chatterjee, Binghamton University, School of Management
Junhong Min, Binghamton University, School of Management


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33 | 2006

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