The Evolving Marketplace: Essays on How Digitization and Abundance Influence Consumption
CitationWilson, Anne. 2020. The Evolving Marketplace: Essays on How Digitization and Abundance Influence Consumption. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis research investigates consequences of our changing marketplace, particularly as they pertain to digitization and increased accessibility of goods. Across three essays, I examine how the manner and ease with which people can now acquire, consume, and share goods influences how we consume and what our consumption decisions signal to others. Essay one addresses the rise of consumer minimalism. In this essay, I establish a definition of the construct of consumer minimalism and develop a scale for measuring minimalist tendencies. I also explore signaling consequences of being a minimalist versus non-minimalist consumer, showing that minimalism can serve as a particular form of conspicuous non-consumption, which leads to heightened attributions of social status in the eyes of others. In the second essay, I investigate perceptions of bingeing behaviors, showing that bingeing (vs. not bingeing) is perceived as less utility maximizing, but as a stronger and more authentic signal of one’s liking and passion for the consumed good; an effect explained by inferences of lower self-control during consumption. Finally, in essay three, I examine how the digitization of goods can influence interpersonal exchanges. In particular, I show that receiving digital versus physical money and goods results in lower feelings of interpersonal closeness between receivers and givers. Across these three essays, I use a combination of qualitative grounded theory methods, netnographic methods, surveys, experiments, and field studies.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365716
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