Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Tam, W. & Dholakia, U. M. (2011). Delay and duration effects of time frames on personal savings estimates and behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 114 (2), 142-152.


We examined effects of time frame duration (a month vs. a year) and delay (next month vs. a specific future month) on personal savings estimates. Results revealed that unitized monthly savings estimates provided for a specific future month were significantly higher than those given for either next month or next year (Experiments 1). An examination of the underlying process revealed that decision makers had greater future optimism when estimating savings for a specific future month (Experiment 2) and thought of the savings task with low-level construal (Experiments 3 and 4) compared to other conditions. However, these decision makers actually saved less money (Experiment 5) after providing the higher estimates. Our findings uncovered the mediating roles of future optimism in the delay effect, and of construal level in the duration effect, on savings estimates, and shed light on how resource slack and temporal construal combined to affect savings estimates.