The Effects Of Rivalry On Conspicuous Consumption
Two studies examined how interpersonal rivalries affect individuals' consumption propensities. The current research suggests that comparing poorl y to a rival is an aversive state that people seek to compensate for by signaling that the y are at par with (or better than) their rivals. One means b y which people may compete with their rivals is to engage in conspicuous consumption, that is, the acquisition of goods that signal status or reputation. In Study 1, participants who recalled a rival were significantly more likely to bu y a conspicuous good that was not owned by the rival than were participants who recalled a cooperative peer. In Study 2, we found that participants who recalled a rival were significantl y more willing to pa y for a product than were control participants, but only if the product was associated with status. Furthermore, anticipated happiness upon acquiring the product drove rivals' willingness to spend on status objects, suggesting that consumption may serve to repair the aversive state of faring poorl y to a rival.
Rivalry; economic behavior; psychology
Lawler, Edward J
Goncalo, Jack A.
Industrial and Labor Relations
M.S., Industrial and Labor Relations
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis