مصرف بدون فکر و تصور انعکاسی : به سوی رفتار اخلاقی مصرف کننده
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Economic Psychology, Available online 26 January 2013
The paper deals with impulsive consumption and highlights the roles that two aspects of reflexive thought (namely self-control and self-image motives) play in intertemporal decisions. While self-control can inhibit individuals from consuming impulsively, self-image motives can induce impulsive consumption. Based on recent neuroscientific findings about ‘wanting’–‘liking’ dissociations, the paper presents the cue-triggered ‘wanting’ mechanism as one potential explanation for the occurrence of such impulsive consumption. Utilizing the knowledge of this mechanism and acknowledging both aspects of reflexive thought, the paper expands on three libertarian paternalistic means to foster an ethical way of impulsive consumption: strengthening willpower, reducing impulsive desires to consume, and guiding impulsive behavior in ethical directions by making salient certain self-images that favor ethical consumption.
Under the label libertarian paternalism behavioral economists have begun to draw policy implications from their findings (Thaler and Sunstein, 2003 and Thaler and Sunstein, 2008). Libertarian paternalism refers to policy interventions that change the context (in libertarian paternalistic terms, the choice architecture) in which individuals make decisions. Changing the choice architecture, libertarian paternalists argue, can nudge individuals to behave in their own best self-interests. One prominent example of a libertarian paternalistic intervention is to change the way in which food products in cafeterias are displayed and arranged in order to nudge individuals to choose products that make them better off, as judged by themselves (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008). Drawing on the assumption that products that are noticed first tend to be purchased more often than products in less favorable locations, Thaler and Sunstein (2008) suggest putting healthy fruits in the best locations and unhealthy junk food in less favorable places in order to nudge individuals towards healthy eating. Libertarian paternalists argue that such slight changes of the choice architecture are not paternalistic as commonly defined because mere changes of the choice architecture do not reduce the individual’s freedom of choice. Hence, they argue, changing the choice architecture should be preferred to harder interventions such as bans that reduce the individual’s freedom of choice. What Thaler and Sunstein (2008) do not explain in their cafeteria example, however, is why individuals tend to grab the first products they see. One possibility, actually the one which is presumed in this paper, is that individuals choose the first products they see in an impulsive fashion. The aim of the paper is to show that a thorough understanding of how and why impulsive consumption occurs can be used to evaluate and bring forward libertarian paternalistic ways of influencing (impulsive) consumer behavior. Impulsive consumption, which occurs frequently in daily lives of modern citizens (Hofmann, Baumeister, Förster, & Vohs, 2012), is defined as the result of sudden and powerful urges that induce consumers to buy immediately without a lot of reflection about the long-term consequences of the purchases (Rook, 1987). Analogously, Hoch and Loewenstein (1991) suggest that impulsive consumption is the outcome of a struggle between desire and willpower. These definitions correspond to many dual process models that understand human decision making as being guided by two different systems (Kahneman, 2011 and Strack and Deutsch, 2004). Following Kahneman (2011), this paper will call these two systems System 1 and System 2. While the urges and desires that can induce impulsive consumption occur in System 1, reflection about the long-term consequences and willpower are situated in System 2. Recent research in behavioral economics and economic psychology on impulsive consumption has focused on the deliberative System 2 (Baumeister and Tierney, 2011, Dewitte, 2012 and Hofmann et al., 2009). Accordingly, practical implications following from this research mostly aim at strengthening the cognitive factors related to reflection and willpower that can reduce impulsive consumption by suggesting, for example, external commitment devices (Bryan, Karlan, & Nelson, 2010). This paper, on the contrary, expands on the desires and urges that occur in System 1 and potentially lead to impulsive consumption. Hence, the paper is in line with Hofmann et al. (2009) who suggest to put more emphasis on the desire side of the conflict between desire and willpower to obtain a more balanced perspective on impulsive consumption. In particular, the paper uses the cue-triggered ‘wanting’ mechanism described in neuroscientific research by Berridge and colleagues (e.g. Berridge, 2002 and Berridge and Aldridge, 2008) and presented in Lades (2012) as one potential explanation for how and why urges to consume occur. To elaborate on the differences between, on the one hand, urges and desires and, on the other hand, reflection and willpower in the two systems the paper investigates the roles played by the human capacity for reflexive thought. Reflexive thought facilitates, amongst other things, the abilities of self-focused attention and self-evaluation (Duval & Wicklund, 1972). Combined with the human ability of mental time-traveling (Suddendorf & Corballis, 2007), reflexive thought allows individuals to reflect about the consequences that impulsive consumption has for themselves in the future (Hershfield, 2011). Hence, reflexive thought helps in exerting self-control to resist existing urges that would otherwise lead to impulsive behavior. However, as Dittmar and Bond (2010) show, reflexive thought can also lead to impulsive behavior. Hence, besides playing a role in willpower, reflexive thought also plays a role in desire. More precisely, following Dittmar and Bond (2010), this paper argues that motivational aspects of reflexive thought, i.e. identity-related needs commonly called self-image motives (Dunning, 2007), can generate desires that can lead to impulsive consumption. When, for example, individuals perceive discrepancies between their actual self-images and their ideal self-images, they sometimes impulsively purchase goods that promise to reduce these self-image discrepancies (Dittmar & Bond, 2010). Going beyond Dittmar and Bond’s (2010) analysis, this paper argues that such impulsive purchases of identity-relevant goods can be explained by the cue-triggered ‘wanting’ mechanism (Berridge, 2002). Adapting the intertemporal choice model presented in Lades (2012) to the case of identity-relevant impulsive consumption, the present paper presents one possible formalization of this type of impulsive consumption. Utilizing this formalization as a way to structure impulsive consumption situations, the paper presents implications for libertarian paternalistic interventions. On the one hand, the paper argues that self-nudges should be preferred to nudges by third parties, because the subjective character of self-images makes it difficult for third parties to judge what makes individuals better off. If anybody knows which self-image is predominantly salient in an individual, it is the individual herself. On the other hand, by highlighting the motivational aspects of impulsive consumption and reflexive thought, some new nudging strategies emerge. These are presented in the context of ethical consumption. The paper illustrates how nudges can be used to both reduce unethical impulsive consumption and increase ethical impulsive consumption. Essentially, three strategies through which choice architects (third parties, but preferably the individuals themselves) can nudge individuals towards an ethical way of impulsive consumption will be distinguished. First, individual willpower to guard against unethical impulsive consumption can be strengthened. Second, the desires for unethical impulsive consumption can be reduced. Third, impulsive consumption can be guided to ethical directions by making salient certain self-images that favor ethical consumption. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 briefly presents some basic facts about impulsive consumption. Section 3 summarizes behavioral economic models of impulsivity, underscoring the roles that the two human decision making systems play in intertemporal decisions. Based on an evolutionary perspective on economic behavior, Section 4 presents motivational aspects of impulsive consumption. Using the cue-triggered ‘wanting’ mechanism this section shows how self-image motives can induce impulsive consumption of identity-related goods. Moreover, the section formalizes such decision situations in an intertemporal choice model. Subsequent to Section 4, the paper turns to the implications for policies in the spirit of libertarian paternalism. Section 5 offers a note of caution for those libertarian paternalistic policies that third parties apply to populations composed of individuals with diverse self-images. Section 6 presents three strategies by which choice architects (either third parties or the individuals themselves) can nudge individuals to make impulsive consumption more ethical. The last section concludes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The aim of libertarian paternalism is to help individuals make better choices, as judged by themselves. To do so it is important to know about the reasons why individuals sometimes deviate from behavior that is in their best interest. Commonly, behavioral economics elaborates on these reasons, among other things, by identifying biases in the decisions made by the intuitive System 1. Also in the context of impulsive consumption, behavioral economics acknowledges that the intuitive System 1 is myopic and strives for immediate gratification. However, with few exceptions, it is not explained why this is the case, and the behavioral economic strategy to solve self-control problems relies mostly on the exertion of self-control in System 2. As a result, libertarian paternalistic implications following from this research most often aim at reducing the consequences of given urges by, for example, suggesting commitment strategies that inhibit existing urges from translating into actual behavior. Based on an evolutionary perspective on consumer behavior this paper elaborates on the motivational foundations of impulsive behavior. It presents the cue-triggered ‘wanting’ mechanism as one potential reason for the occurrence of impulsive urges in System 1. The paper applies this mechanism to the case of identity-related impulsive consumption in order to explain why and how self-image discrepancies can lead to impulsive consumption of identity-related goods. Based on the knowledge of this mechanism, especially in context of identity-related consumption, the paper suggests implications for libertarian paternalistic policy interventions. On the one hand, the paper argues that self-imposed nudges should be preferred to nudges by third parties, because due to the subjective character of self-images, cost benefit analyses of nudges are more difficult for third parties than for the individuals themselves. On the other hand, the paper suggests nudging strategies how to encourage ethical consumption by either reducing unethical impulsive consumption, or guiding impulsive consumption in ethical directions. The paper thus shows that an analysis of the motivational foundations of impulsive consumer behavior can complement existing behavioral economic research that aims at generating implications for interventions in the spirit of libertarian paternalism.