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Does Religion Affect the Materialism of Consumers? An Empirical Investigation of Buddhist Ethics and the Resistance of the Self

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  • Stefano Pace

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Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of Buddhist ethics on consumers’ materialism, that is, the propensity to attach a fundamental role to possessions. The literature shows that religion and religiosity influence various attitudes and behaviors of consumers, including their ethical beliefs and ethical decisions. However, most studies focus on general religiosity rather than on the specific doctrinal ethical tenets of religions. The current research focuses on Buddhism and argues that it can tame materialism directly, similar to other religions, and through the specific Buddhist ethical doctrines of the Four Immeasurables: compassion, loving kindness, empathetic joy, and equanimity. The empirical results show the following: (1) Buddhism reduces materialism directly and through some of the Four Immeasurables, and (2) despite the doctrine of non-existence of the self, positive emotions toward the self are still present, and the self absorbs the effects of Buddhist ethics on materialism. The latter finding suggests a “resistance of the self” that is coherent with the idea of a consumer who leverages the self to go beyond it. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Pace, 2013. "Does Religion Affect the Materialism of Consumers? An Empirical Investigation of Buddhist Ethics and the Resistance of the Self," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 112(1), pages 25-46, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:112:y:2013:i:1:p:25-46 DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1228-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yusuf Sidani & Akram Al Ariss, 2015. "New Conceptual Foundations for Islamic Business Ethics: The Contributions of Abu-Hamid Al-Ghazali," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 129(4), pages 847-857, July.
    2. Xingqiang Du & Yingjie Du & Quan Zeng & Hongmei Pei & Yingying Chang, 2016. "Religious atmosphere, law enforcement, and corporate social responsibility: Evidence from China," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 229-265, March.
    3. Xingqiang Du, 2014. "Does Religion Mitigate Tunneling? Evidence from Chinese Buddhism," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 299-327, December.
    4. Jia, Ming & Ruan, Hongfei & Zhang, Zhe, 2017. "How rumors fly," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 33-45.
    5. Omer Farooq & Marielle Payaud & Dwight Merunka & Pierre Valette-Florence, 2014. "The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Organizational Commitment: Exploring Multiple Mediation Mechanisms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, pages 563-580.
    6. Xingqiang Du & Wei Jian & Shaojuan Lai & Yingjie Du & Hongmei Pei, 2015. "Does Religion Mitigate Earnings Management? Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, pages 699-749.
    7. repec:pal:jintbs:v:48:y:2017:i:8:d:10.1057_s41267-017-0096-6 is not listed on IDEAS

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