Experiential analysis of automotive consumption
This paper uses introspection and deconstruction as tools to improve understanding of how decisions to purchase cars are made and how a person's preferences evolve in the long run. It is based on a much longer, downloadable account of experience with 18 cars over a 30-year period that involves motoring in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Many of the implications drawn from this account contradict conventional economic perspectives on consumer behavior, particularly regarding the presumed use of tradeoffs, the lack of significance of past choices for current actions, and the rationality of responses to information problems and the availability of credit. The paper also reflects on how introspective research is to be used: not as an empirical ‘sample of one’ but as a means of identifying potential problems with existing theories and suggesting new hypotheses to explore more systematically.
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