The Last Name Effect: How Last Name Influences Acquisition Timing

29 Pages Posted: 15 May 2013  

Kurt A. Carlson

Georgetown University - Department of Marketing

Jacqueline Conard

Belmont University - Massey School of Business

Date Written: May 14, 2013

Abstract

In addition to deciding whether to buy an item, consumers can often decide when they buy an item. This article links the speed with which adults acquire items to the first letter of their childhood surname. We find that the later in the alphabet the first letter of one’s childhood surname, the faster the person acquires items as an adult. We dub this the last name effect, and we propose that it stems from childhood ordering structures that put children with different names in different positions in lines. For example, since those late in the alphabet are typically at the end of lines, they compensate by responding quickly to acquisition opportunities. In addition to responding quicker, we find that those with late alphabet names are more likely to acquire an item when response time is restricted and they find limited time offers more appealing than their early alphabet counterparts.

Keywords: decision making, ordering

JEL Classification: M31

Suggested Citation

Carlson, Kurt A. and Conard, Jacqueline, The Last Name Effect: How Last Name Influences Acquisition Timing (May 14, 2013). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 38, No. 2, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2264918

Kurt A. Carlson (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Department of Marketing ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Jacqueline Conard

Belmont University - Massey School of Business ( email )

1900 Belmont Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37212-3757
United States

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