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A PLURALISTIC APPROACH TO CONSUMER MORALITY

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Abstract

While several scholars have examined the influence of morality in consumption contexts, the extant research has largely assumed a monistic definition of morality. That is, the research has assumed that morality consists of harm/fairness concerns. Contrastingly, this dissertation introduces a pluralistic approach to morality. That is, I demonstrate how different moral beliefs (harm, fairness, respect, loyalty, and sanctity) motivate divergent behaviors across four consumer contexts. Consequently, I show how investigating the diversity in moral beliefs can shed light on heterogeneous consumer preferences across political and cultural groups. First, Chapter 1 demonstrates how heterogenous moral beliefs can increase or decrease preferences for conspicuous consumption. Chapter 2 demonstrates how certain moral beliefs can suppress the desire for sensory pleasure. Chapter 3 demonstrates how different moral beliefs influence reactions to the SNAP welfare program. Finally, Chapter 4 demonstrates how heterogenous moral beliefs shape attitudes towards bodily markets. Importantly, these chapters show how the moral insights can explain paradoxical consumption patterns and subsequently be used to generate targeted marketing and policy campaigns. Hence, this dissertation underscores the importance of using a pluralistic lens to investigate the heterogeneity in consumers’ moral beliefs.

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157 pages

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Date Issued

2020-05

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Keywords

Bodily Markets; Conspicuous Consumption; Consumer Behavior; Moral Values; Sensory Pleasure; Welfare Programs

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Union Local

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Committee Chair

Thomas, Manoj

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Committee Member

Gilovich, Thomas
Kim, Soo
van Osselaer, Stijn

Degree Discipline

Management

Degree Name

Ph. D., Management

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document

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Attribution 4.0 International

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dissertation or thesis

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