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Consumer maximization of utilitarian and informational reinforcement: comparing two utility measures with reference to social class

Oliveira-Castro, Jorge M. and Foxall, Gordon 2017. Consumer maximization of utilitarian and informational reinforcement: comparing two utility measures with reference to social class. Behavior Analyst 40 (2) , pp. 457-474. 10.1007/s40614-017-0122-9

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Abstract

Based upon the Behavioral Perspective Model (BPM), previous analysis has shown that consumers tend to maximize utility as a function of the level of utilitarian (functional) and informational (social) reinforcement offered by brands. A model of consumer brand choice was developed, which applied a Cobb-Douglas utility function to the parameters that constitute the BPM, using consumer panel data. The present paper tested a variation of the previous model, which allows for measures of consumer utility at the level of aggregate household, in addition to utility per consumed product unit (e.g., gram), and examined the relations of obtained utility with consumers’ social class and age. Results indicate that the model fitted the data well, generating consistent parameters, and that utility per product unit, but not total household utility, was positively correlated to social class. These findings suggest that, in the case of supermarket food items, higher-income households obtain higher levels of utility than lower-income households by purchasing brands that offer more utilitarian and informational reinforcement per product unit rather than their buying larger quantities of brands offering lower reinforcement levels.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0738-6729
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2017
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2019 11:29
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/109607

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