29 Pages Posted: 15 May 2013
Date Written: May 14, 2013
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: 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