Shannon Roddel | December 4, 2019
Romantic relationships are built on trust — yet when it comes to money, even faithful partners are not always honest about their spending and saving habits.
New research from the University of Notre Dame introduces the concept of financial infidelity — engaging in any financial behavior likely to be frowned upon by a romantic partner and intentionally failing to disclose that behavior. The study is the first to introduce, define and measure financial infidelity reliably and succinctly and to examine its antecedents and consequences.
“Love, Lies, and Money: Financial Infidelity in Romantic Relationships” is forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research from coauthors Emily Garbinsky, assistant professor of marketing in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Joe Gladstone of University College London, Hristina Nikolova from Boston College and Jenny Olson of Indiana University.
“My co-authors and I became really interested in the construct of financial infidelity or cheating with money,” Garbinsky explains, “because we noticed numerous popular press pieces mentioned this term and how it’s much more prevalent than people think. But every article used a different definition with a different set of financial behaviors falling under this umbrella term.”
The team conducted 10 lab studies using online panels of hundreds of married individuals and one field study during a Football Friday at Notre Dame (also recruiting married participants). The researchers also analyzed real bank account data collected in partnership with a couple’s money-management mobile application.
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