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The Endowed Progress Effect
How Artificial Advancement Increases Effort

Authors:
Joseph C. Nunes
Xavier Drèze

Publisher:
Journal of Consumer Research
2006, 32 (4), 504-12

Abstract:
This research documents a phenomenon we call the endowed progress effect whereby people provided with artificial advancement towards a goal exhibit greater persistence towards reaching the goal. By converting a task requiring eight steps into a task requiring 10 steps, but with two steps already complete, the task is reframed as one that has been undertaken and incomplete rather than not yet begun. This increases the likelihood of task completion and decreases completion time. The effect appears to depend on perceptions of task completion rather than a desire to avoid wasting the endowed progress. Moderators include the reason, if any, offered for the endowment, and the currency in which progress is recorded.
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