KiKaKo - Modelling Children's Purchasing Literacy

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the interdisciplinary project KiKaKo aims to systematically analyze the purchasing competence and the purchasing behavior of children and to test hypotheses concerning the structure of this competence construct. Furthermore, KiKaKo explores how process data from technology based assessments can be used in an extended modelling of competencies.

Project Description

The construct purchasing competence comprises the cognitive and motivational-affective skills that enable consumers to manage the entire purchasing process in such a way that their own goals and needs are met and the challenges and their own actions are understood and can be reflected. We assume that purchase competence requires the knowledge of different concepts (e.g. pricing), certain mathematical skills (e.g. price-quantity comparisons), learning opportunities, self-regulation, domain-specific problem solving strategies, as well as certain attitudes. Based on these assumptions we developed a computer-based measuring instrument that includes not only achievement and personality tests but also a computer-based simulated supermarket. While the measurement and modeling of competencies typically focuses on task outcomes, behavioral differences during task completion are often not considered. With digital technologies, competence assessments can provide process data as additional information about the skills and strategies of test takers. As the supermarket simulation requires a high level of interactivity, the granularity of our process data is high enough for investigating the task completion process as well as complex cognitive processes like domain-specific problem solving strategies and self-regulation.

After a successful revision of the contents by a pilot study in March 2020, the test instrument will be applied to a more extensive sample of 1600 primary school children (8-10 years) in a main study.


In Germany, the annual income based on pocket money and monetary gifts for children adds up to 3 billion euros (Kinder-Medien-Studie 2019) and from the age of seven onwards, children make frequent and unassisted purchases. As an important target group, children are exposed to a multitude of marketing messages from manufacturers and dealers and to an increasing number of advertisements directed at them and geared to their needs. However, their significance as market participants is in contradiction to their lack of market experience and knowledge and to their cognitive skills and abilities that are still under development.

Project Objectives

The previous research in this field is enriched by four aspects: (1) The results will analyze the dimensional internal structure of declarative knowledge and decision-making behavior in simulated consumption situations and will thus describe the structure of the construct purchasing competence in greater detail. (2) At the same time, the extent of the purchasing competence of school children between 8 and 10 is described systematically for the first time with regard to cognitive, self-regulative and conative aspects and (3) the impact of relevant motivational variables such as e.g. the ability of self-control and of future orientation is examined. (4) Furthermore, our research seeks to demonstrate how process data can be used in an extended modelling of competencies and how it enhances the theoretical model and its measurement. With the developed instrument a method validated by behavioral measures for the recording of the purchasing competence of children is at the research community's disposal for the first time.

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Johannes Hartig

Project Team

Philine Drake

Project Details

Completed Projects
Department: Teacher and Teaching Quality
04/2019 – 03/2022
External funding
Contact: Philine Drake, Doctoral Candidate