ادراک انصاف و مشاهده رفتار مصرف کننده : نتایج حاصل از یک مدل مشاهده جزئی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1792||2008||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 37, Issue 1, February 2008, Pages 31–44
The present study aims at revealing the possible difference between thresholds of fairness and fairness evaluations. Thresholds of fairness are used to indicate the point at which a decision to shop becomes positive. Fairness evaluations refer to price fairness and service fairness judgments that the consumers make. Analysis indicates that fairness evaluations affect both the decision to shop and the decision regarding the monetary value of a specific transaction. Thus, threshold levels of fairness might be empirically approximated through the observed levels of expenditures. However, these thresholds do not necessarily coincide with consumers’ fairness perceptions.
Research along the economic psychology strand indicates that human values and constructs underlie individuals’ transactions (Tversky and Kahneman, 1986). One of the most pervasive notions drawing from this strand of research relates to individuals’ perceptions of fairness. The latter is widely acknowledged as a construct underlying observed economic outcomes (Rabin, 1993 and Carpenter, 2003). Economic theory has come to acknowledge the role of fairness perceptions in human decision-making (Rabin, 1993 and Karni and Safra, 2002). However, research regarding the effect of fairness perceptions upon consumers’ levels of expenditures is yet limited. The present study analyzes the non-linear effects of fairness perceptions by incorporating fairness into a typical consumers’ expenditures function. Research in this direction might enhance our knowledge and understanding of the imprints underlying an observed economic outcome. More specifically, the present study analyzes the role of fairness perceptions in the formation of consumers’ shopping patterns. Analysis relates to identifying the role of fairness perceptions when individuals have to decide whether they will transact with a specific retailer or not. Further, it is assumed that fairness perceptions affect the monetary value of realized transactions. These two research questions are used to analyze the case where consumers patronize retail stores using their fairness perceptions as shopping criteria. Empirical analysis refers to consumers’ expenditures on supermarkets. For this type of repeated purchase it can reasonably be assumed that individuals have the information that is necessary for their evaluations. The aim of the study is in line with the argument that analysis of observed economic transactions may be expanded to include not only socio-economic indicators as suggested by mainstream economic theory but also indicators that reflect individuals’ perceptions of fairness underlying plausible economic outcomes. Acknowledging individual perceptions of fairness as the consumers’ mechanism for search of maximum overall value allows heterogeneity in human value constructs and beliefs to enter the analysis of consumers’ behavior. In turn, the latter is in line with a number of studies urging for an inter-disciplinary approach of economic phenomena (Guerin, 2003, Foxall, 1999 and Oliveira-Castro, 2003). Mainstream microeconomic theory suggests that consumers, when having to decide upon the purchase of a composite good, maximize value by means of choosing the price/quality ratio that maximizes value for each item that is included in the composite good (Debreu, 1959). Nonetheless, analyzing consumers’ expenditures with the use of the price of the good and other socio-economic variables alone generates a gap as to the effect of other critical dimensions involved in a transaction (Tversky and Kahneman, 1986 and Mousavi and Garrison, 2003). The present study proposes a theoretically and methodologically informed model as a framework for empirically analyzing the effect of fairness perceptions, which underlie consumers’ transactions. Fairness perceptions are viewed as a critical dimension of observed consumer behavior, and in the context of the present study their role upon consumers’ supermarket expenditures is analyzed. The empirical findings suggest that fairness perceptions affect the construction of certain fairness thresholds, which, although unobservable, might be empirically approximated by the monetary value involved in a transaction. More specifically, in the context of the present study, thresholds are assumed to represent the unobservable points at which a buying decision turns from negative to positive. If, the decision to buy is jointly determined with the decision on how much money to spend, then, observed expenditures could be viewed as an approximation of these unobservable thresholds. However, these thresholds do not necessarily coincide with individuals’ evaluations of price and/or service fairness. Under these conceptual underlyings, the present work utilizes an empirical model that allows for the identification of the factors that affect observed consumers’ expenditures, while accounting for the fact that the sample of consumers is bounded to only that part that has taken the decision to shop. Empirical model results support the existence of an inter-related decision-making process. According to that process, individuals first, decide whether or not they are going to buy goods from a specific provider and then, they decide upon the amount of money to be spent during the specific transaction. Further, empirical results support the hypothesis that both these decisions are affected by individuals’ perceptions of fairness underlying a particular transaction. Thus, a consumer's decision to transact with a specific provider is a complex procedure wherein the optimal amount of spending is subject to the level of fairness ascribed to a specific transaction. It follows that different levels of fairness are ascribed to different levels of observed expenditures. In that sense, fairness perceptions constitute thresholds that are not observed but can be implied through the actual levels of expenditures. Thus, fairness perceptions constitute the benchmark against which individuals determine the optimal level of expenditures. This is an important finding regarding the inter-relationship between observed economic phenomena and individual perceptions of fairness. Following this course of analysis, individual perceptions of fairness are identified as a complex construct exceeding beyond the price/quality ratio as usually assumed in the relevant literature (Bolton et al., 2003 and Campbell, 1999). Fairness is operationalized here as a two-dimensional factor that comprises an individual's overall evaluation of a transaction. The first dimension, relates to an individual's evaluation of the price/quality ratio involved in a transaction, and it is approximated in the analysis by price fairness perceptions. Recognizing that the non-monetary aspects of a transaction are equally important in the process of determining the overall level of fairness characterizing a specific transaction (Lave, 1988), this conceptualization should be expanded. Thus, a second dimension is introduced in the analysis, which relates to an individual's evaluation of the context within which a transaction is realized. Service fairness perceptions are used in order to approximate this set of evaluations. Consumers’ evaluations of these two dimensions are assumed to work in an additive way; and they form the criteria based on which an individual ascribes an overall value to the plausible outcomes that he/she is faced with. This operationalization acknowledges that, consumers may allow for different combinations of price and service fairness, when they decide upon the overall level of fairness underlying a specific transaction. In turn, this indicates that the threshold levels of fairness might not be related only to the monetary value of a transaction.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Though, the small cross-sectional sample utilized may be viewed as a limitation, the approach utilized in the present study aims at contributing to an inter-disciplinary analysis of economic phenomena. To the extent that the hypotheses formed here are empirically verified the proposed analytical framework may be inferred to constitute a useful tool for empirically investigating the inter-relationship between consumers’ perceptions of fairness and their observed behavior. In particular, the findings of the present study suggest that consumers do patronize stores. This is a two-step process during which consumers first decide if they are going to transact with a specific provider and then they decide on the monetary value that will be involved in the transaction. Both decisions are shaped by consumers’ perceptions over the level of price and service fairness underlying a specific transaction. Thus, empirical observation of the price and of the context of a transaction may serve as an analytical tool of understanding the behavioral dynamics underlying consumer decision-making. The importance of the latter is obvious as insights may be provided regarding the effect of fairness judgments on actual economic actions. This finding bears important implications in terms of the way in which applied economic analysis of consumers’ expenditures is undertaken. Empirical models analyzing observed consumers’ expenditures should be expanded to include fairness perceptions, as the latter should not be sub-summed to socio-economic indicators. However, it should be acknowledged here that the present study suffers the limitation of a possibly inadequate approximation of the price and service fairness variables used in the analysis. This is due to the fact that the analysis undertaken here utilizes data from a wider consumers’ expenditures survey that was not designed to account for the way in which fairness judgments are formed. Further, the findings of this study suggest that the levels of threshold fairness that individuals use in their evaluations of a potential transaction might differ from the levels of price and service fairness that they ascribe to particular transactions. This is an important finding that adds to the complexity of the notion of fairness perceptions and of the ways in which it might be empirically manifested. This constitutes an interesting line of future research in the field.