A Penny Saved is a Partner Earned: The Romantic Appeal of Savers

Jenny G. Olson

University of Kansas - School of Business

Scott Rick

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

June 27, 2014

Romantic desire often stimulates conspicuous consumption, but we find that people who chronically save are viewed as more attractive than people who chronically spend. We first demonstrate, in a face-to-face, incentive-compatible study, that people can accurately distinguish between savers and spenders by glancing at them (without communication). Then, in several experiments, we find that savers are viewed as possessing greater general self-control than spenders, and perceived self-control increases savers’ romantic appeal. Potential alternative sources of savers’ appeal (financial viability, reduced materialism) are ruled out. In addition, savers are expected to take better care of themselves, and this expectation favorably biases perceptions of savers’ physical attractiveness. However, because self-control favors prudence over fun, dispositional and situational factors that increase the need for stimulation reduce the allure of savers. Our work elucidates how a fundamental consumption behavior (one’s tendency to spend or save) is perceived and is influential in romantic relationship formation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: Decision Making, Interpersonal Relationships, Shopping, Consumer Behavior, Consumer Financial Decision Making, Attraction

JEL Classification: M31, C91

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Date posted: June 19, 2013 ; Last revised: June 28, 2014

Suggested Citation

Olson, Jenny G. and Rick, Scott, A Penny Saved is a Partner Earned: The Romantic Appeal of Savers (June 27, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2281344 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2281344

Contact Information

Jenny G. Olson (Contact Author)
University of Kansas - School of Business ( email )
1300 Sunnyside Avenue
Lawrence, KS 66045
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.jennyginolson.com
Scott Rick
University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )
701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States
HOME PAGE: http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/srick/
Feedback to SSRN

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