Articles / Recommended Reading / Theory

Getting Ahead of the Joneses

Image credit: http://www.ejcr.org/

Image credit: http://www.ejcr.org/

Getting Ahead of the Joneses: When Equality Increases Conspicuous Consumption among Bottom-Tier Consumers
Nailya Ordabayeva and Pierre Chandon

Journal of Consumer Research
Journal 38, No.1, June 2011, p 27-41
The University of Chicago Press

It is widely believed that increasing the equality of material possessions or income in a social group should lead people at the bottom of the distribution to consume less and save more. However, this prediction and its causal mechanism have never been studied experimentally. Five studies show that greater equality increases the satisfaction of those in the lowest tier of the distribution because it reduces the possession gap between what they have and what others have. However, greater equality also increases the position gains derived from status-enhancing consumption, since it allows low-tier consumers to get ahead of the higher proportion of consumers clustered in the middle tiers. As a result, greater equality reduces consumption when consumers focus on the narrower possession gap, but it increases consumption when they focus on the greater position gains (i.e., when consumption is conspicuous, social competition goals are primed, and the environment is competitive).

(read more – PDF)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s