Self-Scanning and Self-Control: A Field Experiment on Real-Time Feedback and Shopping Behavior

Experimental Research in Social Science Seminar: Talk by Erik Wengström, Lund University

2017.01.17 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Date Tue 09 May
Time 11:00 13:00
Location IMC Meeting Room, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, Building 1483-312

Abstract:  Payment and checkout at retail stores are increasingly being replaced by automated systems. One recent technological invention in this area is mobile self-scanning in which customers carry a mobile scanner while shopping. Mobile self-scanners give real-time feedback on spending, potentially increasing customers' attention to prices and also facilitate keeping track of the amount spent. Using a  field experiment, we test if mobile self-scanning affects shopping behavior. Consumers of two grocery stores were allocated randomly to use a mobile self-scanner or not. We find that the response to using the scanner is heterogeneous. In particular, we find that individuals with low self-control significantly reduce both their spending and number of items bought when using the mobile scanner. Moreover, we find that consumers with low self-control are more likely to use self-scanner than individuals with high self-control. Taken together, our results suggest that sophisticated individuals, that is, individuals who are aware of their self-control problem, use the scanner to keep control of their spending.

Authors: Natalia Montinari, Emma Runnemark and Erik Wengström

Speaker: Erik Wengström, Lund University


The seminar series Experimental Research in Social Science hosts speakers who apply experimental methods to study questions relevant to economics, management, or social sciences more generally.

The format is a one hour seminar aimed at a broad, interdisciplinary audience, followed by time for informal discussion over a sandwich lunch.

The series is co-hosted by IMC, the Department of Economics and Business Economics, and the Department of Management. 

Organizers: Alexander Koch (ECON) - Carsten Bergenholtz (MGMT) - Andreas Roepstorff (IMC)

Coordinator: Mette Trier Damgaard