Effort, Excellence and Income Stinginess: How Do People Justify Self-Gratification?

We propose that people employ two routes to justifying self-gratification: one through hard work or excellence (entitlement) and the second through the attainment of vices without depleting income. A series of experiments with actual effort tasks and real choices demonstrate that higher effort or (bogus) excellence enhances choices of temptation over prudence, but these effects are reversed when the interchangeability of effort and income is implied. Further, these effects are magnified among individuals with stronger (chronic or manipulated) guilt. We discuss the underlying psychological processes and the ability of the justification routes to explain the findings of prior self-control research.


Yuhuang Zheng and Ran Kivetz (2007) ,"Effort, Excellence and Income Stinginess: How Do People Justify Self-Gratification?", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8, eds. Stefania Borghini, Mary Ann McGrath, and Cele Otnes, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research.


Yuhuang Zheng, Fordham University, USA
Ran Kivetz, Columbia University, USA


E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8 | 2007

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