Does Political Ideology Influence People’s Desire to Patronise Fair-Trade Products Despite Price Premiums? 

Wong, R. M. M. (Nottingham University, Malaysia), Owuamalam, C. (Nottingham University, Malaysia) 

The goal of the price premium on fair trade products is to address inequality in global trade, but such pricing can reduce product competitiveness. One solution might be to remove the price premiums: but this will defeat the aim of the fair trade initiative. Here, we took a slightly different turn by looking at psychological factors that could influence peoples’ fair-trade patronage beyond pricing – political ideology.  Consumers with a conservative ideology tend to focus on indicators of merit (e.g. quality) than their liberal counterparts do. Hence, we reasoned that conservatives may be more willing to pay a price premium for a product only when the product is advertised as meeting a ‘high-quality standard’ rather than fulfilling a social justice mission (e.g. fair-trade). In contrast, consumers with a liberal (progressive) ideology tend to be more sensitive to social justice issues than conservatives. For this reason, we expected that liberals may be more willing to incur a price premium only when the product is advertised as fulfilling a social justice goal rather than framed as being of high-quality alone. Two experiments in Malaysia and USA in which participants were exposed to a social justice-based vs. quality-based advertisements for a fictitious premium chocolate range, provided some support for these predictions. 


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—- TYREE —–
Norms, Stereotyping, and Social Identity