This study examines the likelihood of cheating when consumers are offered with the option of using postponed payment plans after purchasing hedonic goods. It addresses how the nature of the good combined with payment timing affects its perceived psychological ownership, which in turn influences consumers’ cheating behavior. Three experimental studies indicate that when consumers mentally represent a hedonic (vs. utilitarian) good, they are more likely to cheat. This effect is greater with a postponed payment than with an immediate one. Findings also show that perceived psychological ownership is lower for hedonic goods and this explains different levels of cheating behavior. The paper offers managerial guidance on how to increase perceived psychological ownership for hedonic goods, with the goal of reducing cheating behavior.
- consumer cheating behavior
- hedonic good
- postponed payments
- psychological ownership
- utilitarian good
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