Dr. James A. Roberts





PhD, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
MBA, St. Cloud State University
BA, College of St. Thomas

Dr. Roberts is a well known author with approximately 75 articles published in the academic literature. He is currently a Professor of Marketing and the W.A. Mays Professor of Entrepreneurship at Baylor University in Waco, Texas where he has been a faculty member since 1991. His research regularly appears in many of the top marketing and psychology journals and has received two “Paper of the Year” awards. Additionally, he has been recognized for excellence in the classroom where he has taught his brand of marketing and the social ramifications of our consumer culture to thousands of graduate and undergraduate students.

A primary focus of Dr. Roberts’ work over the last ten years has been the psychology of consumer behavior. He is somewhat of an anomaly among marketing scholars in that his research is largely focused on the “Dark Side” of consumerism and marketing. Current research efforts focus on the topics of materialism, compulsive buying, credit card abuse, and self-control. Dr. Roberts is a nationally recognized expert on consumer behavior and has been quoted extensively in the media:

Select Media Appearances:*

1. ABC World News Tonight – The Money Trap
“Overspending is part of our culture. We are constantly bombarded with advertising messages that happiness can be purchased at the mall or on the internet or from a catalog… “technology, cars, homes, vacations, private school education for our children, there’s no end to it.”
ABC Link: http://business.baylor.edu/Jim_Roberts/ConsumptionBingeABCNewsJu1006abc.wmv

2. New York Times – The More Sensible Sex? It’s a lie.
There are “his and her” spending patterns…but the desires that motivate consumption are only superficially different. “Women generally value their appearance more than men, which can lead to retail therapy; men value social recognition…both trying to build self esteem from different directions.” Women tend to doubt their financial acumen might shop “in order to take comfort in the trappings of financial success.” Men, more optimistic, just want to strut their stuff. “How big your collection of power tools or music boils down to feelings of self-worth.”

3. USA Today – Idea of simple life takes hold.
“They’re all onto something,” says James Roberts, a professor of marketing at Baylor University in Waco, TX. “The research is overwhelmingly clear…The more materialistic you are, the less happy you are…we’ve been told by Madison Avenue that happiness can come through the mail.”

4. Cosmopolitan Magazine – Rx for Compulsive Spending
According to Baylor University Professor James Roberts, “impulse buying is epidemic.” His study of college students found that those who watch a lot of TV, carry many credit cards, hang out at malls, and worry about the future tend to spend money they don’t have because it makes them feel good for a little while, anyway.

5. Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition – Card Tricks
James A. Roberts, a professor of marketing at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, has studied compulsive buying among college students and calls credit cards “spending facilitators.” He notes that with cash, it’s impossible to spend more than you actually”…but “what we’ve found is the money involved in credit cards is somewhat abstract,” he says. In fact…students leaving the school bookstore who paid with cash or check knew pretty much what they had spent. But, he says, “those who paid by credit card tended to be off by as much as 60%.”

6. Women’s Wall Street Journal – Conquer the Compulsive Shopping Blues
Dr. James Roberts suggests at least a 24-hour cooling off period before you buy something. “If something’s over $100, walk out of the store. If you still want it the next day, you probably really wanted it or needed it so it’s okay to go back and get it,” says Roberts, a professor of marketing at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, who has studied chronic purchasing behavior for several years.

7. Health Magazine (also CNN.com) – Fresh Ways to Stress Less
Old stress buster: You freak out over your shrinking bank balance and (since you’re already in debt) decide to go shopping. Compulsive shopping regulates your mood, says James A. Roberts, PhD, a consumer-spending researcher at Baylor University. And when you’re focused on shopping, you’re avoiding feelings of low self-worth or inadequacy. New solutions: If you’re shopping to make yourself feel better, avoid situations that require you to make buying decisions. Get a different rush: Take a hike, ride your bike, or go for a run to the adrenaline flowing. A mental-health pro can help you deal with your behavior, too. And a credit counselor or financial advisor can help you get control of your funds.

8. Kiplinger.com – Best Time for First Credit Card
Kiplinger.com Janet Bodnar’s Money Smart Kids column about the right time to give credit cards to young people quotes James A. Roberts, marketing professor at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business – Credit cards can be a good financial tool. But kids can get into trouble if they rush to get one before they’re ready for the responsibility.

9. Kiplinger.com – What Teens Need to Know About Credit
Kiplinger.com Janet Bodnar’s Money Smart Kids column focuses on teaching young people, especially college students, about credit and cites credit usage research by Dr. James Roberts, professor of marketing at Baylor – When it comes to teaching young people about credit, there’s no shortage of ideas on what to tell them.

10. Baltimore Sun – Kid’s Game Now Takes Plastic
Baltimore Sun article quotes James Roberts, professor of marketing at Baylor – Paper or Plastic? That question is at the center of the controversy over Hasbro’s recently updated The Game of Life: Twists & Turns edition.

11. Newsday – Too Soon? Game of life introduces kids to credit cards
Newsday article that quotes Dr. James A. Roberts, professor of marketing at Baylor, on popular board games scrapping cash for credit cards) – Paper or plastic? That question is at the center of the controversy over Hasbro’s recently updated The Game of Life: Twists & Turns edition.

12. Creative Living Magazine – See Mommy Shop
“Generally, parenting is monkey-see, monkey-do instruction…Teaching children to be wise consumers is not an area where we want to monkey around…My kids now keep me on track: “Dad, do you really need another antique?” What are we modeling?

13. NPR – Save money before you see it
“Before we see our paycheck, I always recommend that we take our money and put it into our 403 B or 401 K accounts .... That to me is probably the most powerful financial tool that we have; if we don’t see it, we don’t ever think about it…” The full 15 minute interview can be found at: www.thereallifesurvivalguide.com

14. Chicago Tribune – Good/bad Kitty (Hello Kitty debit Card)
Jim Roberts, a Baylor University Professor who studies compulsive buying maintains ‘even debit cards are dangerous because they’re a gateway to credit cards.” ‘Giving credit cards to adolescents and children makes spending more abstract. Adults or teenagers using credit cards are less price sensitive, spend more and overestimate their wealth compared with those writing checks or paying cash,” he added … Roberts blames ….

15. The Christian Science Monitor – King Kong debt meets middle class life
“Money is somewhat abstract when people use credit cards,” says James Roberts, a marketing professor at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He’s found that people spend up to 50 percent more in places such as fast food restaurants when using credit cards … the deeper issue, he says, “is that shopping is considered a socially acceptable way to deal with stress or depression. Compulsive spending is now considered a disorder for a small portion of Americans – up to 6 percent,” studies suggest. Worse, Dr. Roberts says, his research shows that 1 in 10 college students buy compulsively – a higher share than previous generations.

16. www.livescience.com – The Truth About Shopaholics
“There are some people who are just total rational consumers; they buy what’s on sale, or what they need and nothing else,” said researcher James Roberts of Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business in Texas. “On the other end, there are compulsive shoppers who buy to their own financial ruin and to relationship problems and other kinds of debt; and then there’s the rest of us somewhere in between.” “We found that the people who are classified as compulsive buyers under the Faber and O’Guinn scale, the most commonly used scale, seemed to be motivated by internal drivers, things like low self-esteem,” Roberts said.

17. www.postcrescent.com – Now is the time for marketers to think less material, more kindness
… some scholars, including James Roberts, a Baylor University marketing professor, believe happiness is adversely affected by consumerism and “the more materialistic you are the less happy you are.”

18. www.amarillo.com – When debt gets out of hand
The average person declaring bankruptcy 25 years ago listed credit cards as 20 percent of their debt, said Jim Roberts, a professor of marketing at Baylor University. Now credit-card debt is 80 to 90 percent of what they’re declaring – and a large part of that debt still is discretionary spending.” Roberts says credit cards make overspending too easy. “It’s the delayed impact on wealth that allows people to overestimate how much money they really have to spend,” he said. “When you count out cash or write a check, you’re less willing to buy.” “With the middle – and upper-middle income brackets, credit card companies are looking for the less credit worthy, including young people with little self-restraint and people on the economic edge,” Roberts said.

19. St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN) – What Teens Need to Know About Credit Cards
… One study reported by professor James Roberts of Baylor University found that customers at fast-food restaurants spend 50 percent more when they pay with plastic.

20. Raising Money Smart Kids: What They Need to Know about Money and How to Tell Them by Janet Bodnar (Kiplinger’s Personal Finance – book)
“… said that the use of credit cards is more of a problem on college campuses than sex and drugs. James A. Roberts, Professor of Marketing at Baylor University, has done extensive research on credit card use among adolescents …” (p. 265 +)

* Unless otherwise stated, all of the above media citations can be read at: