Self-Rationing Efficiency of Repeated Eating-Out Expenses: Does Experience Matter?

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Individuals use self-imposed mental constraints as a guide to make frequent consumption choices. Recent studies, however, suggest that such mental self-rationing processes may be inefficient. The purpose of this real-life experimental study was to investigate the self-rationing efficiency of households’ repeated purchases. Eating-out expenditures take up over half of the food expenditures among families. This study investigated efficiency of eating-away-from-home budget. The results of this study show the classic response by households of adjusting up the eating-away-from-home budget over time when asked to explicitly declare their budgets, suggesting inefficiency in the mental self-rationing process. We also investigated whether repeated experiences could improve the efficiency of self-rationing and found results to the contrary. Experience was positively related to self-rationing inefficiency. We discuss contributions to the literature in regard to self-rationing of repeated expenses and the implications for practice and policy, especially given that experience could further increase inefficiencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-277
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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