Are You Able to Control Your Irresistible Urges to Buy? An Empirical Study on Compulsive Buying Behavior and Self-Control

Aylin Ekin Deveci & Gaia Metzler

Student thesis: Master thesis


Compulsive buying behavior is often identified with uncontrollable and excessive urges to buy. This thesis builds on previous studies to conduct experimental research to analyze to what extent participants are able to control their buying behaviors when influenced by external instruments. The exogenous shock is here represented by email reminders assigned to a group of students according to an incentive-compatible mechanism. Reminders serve as a tool to make students aware of their financial status and induce them to carefully think before shopping. The data is collected from two different surveys directed to university students in Denmark. The results are fourfold. First, this study provides new and numerical ways to quantify compulsive buying behavior. Second, it investigates the effect of reminders on self-control abilities related to purchasing. Third, it elicits students’ willingness to pay to receive or avoid reminders and relates it to both self-reported compulsive buying Likert scale and our new measures of compulsive buying behavior to examine people’s awareness of their biases. Finally, this research inspects how psychological, sociological, and economic factors can predict compulsive buying behavior.

EducationsMSc in Advanced Economics and Finance, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages84
SupervisorsLuigi Butera