$240 for Illinois Avenue, please: Economic inequality increases preference for personal control appeals

Sumaya Albalooshi*, Mehrad Moeini-Jazani*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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Economic inequality is rising globally, yet its impact on consumer behavior remains poorly understood. In five studies, we show that economic inequality increases the preference for personal control appeals—advertising appeals encouraging consumers to reclaim their sense of agency and control. This effect emerged when economic inequality was objectively measured or experimentally manipulated. We also identify the mechanism underlying this effect by showing that higher economic inequality triggers a sense of financial threat, which reduces consumers’ sense of control. These aversive psychological states subsequently increase the preference for personal control appeals. Furthermore, we demonstrate that a momentary boost in the sense of control or a stronger dispositional belief in economic mobility effectively mitigates psychological threats of higher economic inequality, thereby attenuating the preference for personal control appeals. Overall, our findings offer a more nuanced understanding of the motivational effects of economic inequality in shaping consumer behavior.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftJournal of Business Research
Vroegere onlinedatum17-nov.-2023
StatusPublished - jan.-2024

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