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The inhibitory effect of political conservatism on consumption: The case of fair trade

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)519-531
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/01/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Fair trade has been researched extensively. However, our understanding of why consumers might be reluctant to purchase fair trade goods, and the associated potential barriers to the wider adoption of fair trade products, is incomplete. Based on data from 409 USA participants, our study demonstrates some of the psychological processes that underlie the rejection of fair trade products by conservatives. Our findings show that political conservatism affects fair trade perspective-taking and fair trade identity, and these latter two subsequently affect fair trade purchase intention. The decrease in fair trade perspective-taking and fair trade identity are two psychological features that potentially shield conservatives from the appeals of fair trade products. We extend prior research on the effects of political ideology on consumption not only by demonstrating the predisposition of highly conservative consumers towards prosocial consumption, but also by showing the internal functioning of the conservative decision-making process. We further demonstrate that the effect of conservatism on fair trade purchase deliberation is moderated by age and income. Age reduces the negative effect of conservatism on fair trade perspective-taking, whereas income heightens the negative effect of conservatism on fair trade perspective-taking. Our results suggest that fair trade initiatives can target the conservative consumer segment in high-income countries with a greater chance of success when applying marketing strategies that make perspective-taking redundant and that aim at younger consumers with lower incomes.