Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Psychology of Scarcity

On the Psychology of Scarcity: When Reminders of Resource Scarcity Promote Selfish (and Generous) Behavior 

Caroline Roux, Kelly Goldsmith & Andrea Bonezzi
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming
Abstract: Consumers often encounter reminders of resource scarcity. However, relatively little is known about the psychological processes that such reminders instantiate. In this article, we posit that reminders of resource scarcity activate a competitive orientation, which guides consumers’ decision making towards advancing their own welfare. Further, we reveal that this tendency can manifest in behaviors that appear selfish, but also in behaviors that appear generous, in conditions where generosity allows for personal gains. The current research thus offers a more nuanced understanding of why resource scarcity may promote behaviors that appear either selfish or generous in different contexts, and provides one way to reconcile seemingly conflicting prior findings.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?