TLDR; a cognitive bias in which consumers place a disproportionately high value on products they partially created. Labor leads to love when labor leads to successful or satisfactory results.

labor alone can be sufficient to induce greater liking for the fruits of one’s labor: even constructing a standardized bureau, an arduous, solitary task, can lead people to overvalue their (often poorly constructed) creations.” - Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School, Daniel Mochon of Yale, and Dan Ariely of Duke

I mean, it makes sense. When you are involved in something, you have a personal stake. You become a shareholder of that, in a sense. So, regardless of how well it turns out, we will have assign more value to it than we would to something store bought.


  • Personal Meaning
  • Effort and work
  • Sense of accomplishment

Further References

Gibbs, B. J., & Drolet, A. (2003). Consumption effort: The mental cost of generating utility and the role of consumer energy level in ambitious consumption. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(3), 268–277. Study 1, energy induced by ingesting caffeine increased participants’ tendency to choose subtitled foreign movies rather than domestic remakes of those same movies. Study 2 demonstrated the same effect with naturally occurring energy levels and with consumption experiences whose effortfulness and quality were varied independently. In choosing among sets of poems to read, participants with higher levels of energy exhibited less effort aversion but neither more nor less quality seeking. A reanalysis of Study 1 showed that the energy effect is not simply a case of consumers using more energy when they have more energy, because the energy effect disappeared when participants were made aware of the energy source, suggesting that a preference-correction process occurred.

See Also:

this reminds me of the whole Betty Crocker ‘Add an Egg’ campaign thing. It was purported that changing from an instant mix to having to add an egg make ‘housewives feel less guilty’. This was proven to be false or at least, not entirely true. snopes