Framing Goals to Influence Personal Savings: The Role of Specificity and Construal Level

In four studies, the authors show that consumers’ savings can be increased or decreased merely by changing the way consumers think about their saving goals. Consumers can (1) either specify or not specify an exact amount to save (goal specificity) and (2) focus on either how to save or why to save (construal level). The results illustrate that specific goals help consumers save more when the saving goal is construed at a high level but that nonspecific goals help consumers save more when the saving goal is construed at a low level. The same pattern of results occurs with anticipated saving success and actual savings. Mediation analyses reveal that for high-level construers, specific (vs. nonspecific) goals lead to success because they are perceived as more important. However, specific (vs. nonspecific) goals are also perceived as more difficult, which is more discouraging for low-level construers.

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APA-Format Citation

Ülkümen, G., & Cheema, A. (2011). Framing goals to influence personal savings: The role of specificity and construal level. Journal of marketing research48(6), 958-969.