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Contribution Details

Type Working Paper
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Signaling ideology through consumption
Organization Unit
  • Florian H Schneider
  • English
Institution University of Zurich
Series Name Working paper series / Department of Economics
Number 367
ISSN 1664-705X
Number of Pages 106
Date 2022
Abstract Text Firms often discourage certain categories of individuals from buying their products, seemingly at odds with typical assumptions about profit maximization. This paper provides a potential rationale for such firm behavior: Consumers seek to signal that they have “desirable” ideological values to themselves and others by avoiding products popular among people with “undesirable” values. In laboratory experiments and surveys, I provide causal evidence that consumption can be diagnostic of consumers’ ideologies and that demand for a product is lower if its customer base consists of individuals whose ideological values are widely considered undesirable. These effects occur for both observable and unobservable consumption and for products that do not possess any inherent ideological or undesirable qualities.
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Keywords Ideology, social image, self-image, signaling, consumption, experiments
Additional Information Revised version ; former title: Signaling moral values through consumption