Object valuation and non-ownership possession: how renting and borrowing impact willingness-to-pay

Abstract

Prior research on object valuation ignores the effect of non-ownership physical possession types such as renting and borrowing. Evidence from four experiments demonstrates that the valuation (i.e., willingness-to-pay) for rented objects is greater than the valuation for non-possessed or borrowed objects. Borrowed objects are not valued any differently than non-possessed objects. Psychological ownership mediates the relationship between valuation and non-ownership physical possession. Additionally, psychological ownership varies for different possession types (ownership, renting, and borrowing) as its contributing routes (control, self-investment, and knowledge) operate differently for each possession type. As further evidence of the psychological ownership based theoretical account, the research shows that rented objects are not valued higher than non-possessed objects if the control or self-investment routes of psychological ownership are suppressed. The moderating influence of product hedonism–utilitarianism and consumers’ tightwad–spendthrift tendency on the valuation of rented and borrowed objects is also examined.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We use the term borrowing in a non-financial sense. In commercial financial terms, borrowing money typically involves an interest cost.

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Correspondence to Charan K. Bagga.

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Kelly Haws served as Area Editor for this article.

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Bagga, C.K., Bendle, N. & Cotte, J. Object valuation and non-ownership possession: how renting and borrowing impact willingness-to-pay. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 47, 97–117 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-018-0596-3

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Keywords

  • Object valuation
  • Renting
  • Borrowing
  • Psychological ownership
  • Endowment effect
  • Willingness-to-pay
  • Experiments