Control Over What? Individual Differences in General Versus Eating and Spending Self-Control

59 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2015 Last revised: 25 Jun 2015

See all articles by Kelly Haws

Kelly Haws

Vanderbilt University - Marketing

Scott Davis

Texas A&M University - Department of Marketing

Utpal M. Dholakia

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Date Written: June 9, 2015

Abstract

Public policy research is often directed at welfare-enhancing behavior change using interventions that provide consumers with helpful information and tools. We suggest that the effectiveness of public policy interventions and related outcomes are dependent on individual differences in consumers’ self-control. The present research examines how healthy eating and responsible spending outcomes are influenced by low (vs. high) self-control at general and domain-specific levels. We raise important questions regarding the theoretical basis of self-control individual differences and investigate the relative efficacy of general and domain-specific measures in predicting eating and spending outcomes. We propose a new measurement approach to increase measurement standardization and comparability of results in self-control studies and empirically demonstrate its value. Recommendations are provided to public policy researchers and practitioners concerning the role of general and domain-specific individual differences in self-control and their implications for designing and testing effective interventions to improve consumer health and financial well-being.

Keywords: policy interventions, self-control, individual differences, financial decision making, food decision making

Suggested Citation

Haws, Kelly and Davis, Scott and Dholakia, Utpal M., Control Over What? Individual Differences in General Versus Eating and Spending Self-Control (June 9, 2015). Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2616318. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2616318 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2616318

Kelly Haws (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Marketing ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Scott Davis

Texas A&M University - Department of Marketing ( email )

430 Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4218
United States

Utpal M. Dholakia

Rice University - Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business ( email )

6100 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

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