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Desire to Acquire: Powerlessness and Compensatory Consumption

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  • Derek D. Rucker
  • Adam D. Galinsky
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    Abstract

    Three experiments examine how power affects consumers' spending propensities. By integrating literatures suggesting that (a) powerlessness is aversive, (b) status is one basis of power, and (c) products can signal status, the authors argue that low power fosters a desire to acquire products associated with status to compensate for lacking power. Supporting this compensatory hypothesis, results show that low power increased consumers' willingness to pay for auction items and consumers' reservation prices in negotiations but only when products were status related. The link between powerlessness and compensatory consumption has broad implications both for consumers' health and well-being and for understanding the psychological state of power. (c) 2008 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (04)
    Pages: 257-267

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:35:y:2008:i:2:p:257-267

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    Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/

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    Cited by:
    1. K. Janssens & M. Pandelaere & K. Millet & B. Van Den Bergh & I. Lens & R. Keith, 2009. "Can Buy Me Love: How Mating Cues Influence Single Men’S Interest In High-Status Consumer Goods," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 09/570, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    2. Nicolò Bellanca & Stefania Innocenti, 2013. "Resistance to Change in Recent Italy: Some Elements for a Theoretical Framework," Working Papers - Economics wp2013_31.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    3. Mourali, Mehdi & Nagpal, Anish, 2013. "The powerful select, the powerless reject: Power's influence in decision strategies," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(7), pages 874-880.
    4. Ronald Hill & Kelly Martin & Lan Chaplin, 2012. "A tale of two marketplaces: Consumption restriction, social comparison, and life satisfaction," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 731-744, September.
    5. Rares MOCANU, 2013. "Brand Image as a Function of Self-Image and Self-Brand Connection," Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy Journal, College of Management, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, vol. 1(3), pages 387-408, December.
    6. Shrum, L.J. & Wong, Nancy & Arif, Farrah & Chugani, Sunaina K. & Gunz, Alexander & Lowrey, Tina M. & Nairn, Agnes & Pandelaere, Mario & Ross, Spencer M. & Ruvio, Ayalla & Scott, Kristin & Sundie, Jill, 2013. "Reconceptualizing materialism as identity goal pursuits: Functions, processes, and consequences," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1179-1185.

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