Evoking goals to be responsible: When political cues increase utilitarian choice

Jessica Gamlin, Ping Dong, Aparna A. Labroo, Aaron Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Politicalsystemsenablemanygoalsthatconsumerscanaspiretowardandachieve.Whenconsumers believe the system they are embedded in is irresponsible, political cues—that is, reminders of the political system— heighten their desire for responsible governance. This desire, in turn, evokes consumers’ own goals to be responsible, increasing utilitarian (vs. hedonic) preferences. Employing quasi-experimental methods, we first show that salience of political cues accompanying Election (vs. non-Election) Day increases utilitarian preference (study 1). Employing experiments, we then show that situational political (vs. nonpolitical) cues also increase utilitarian preference, among consumers desiring responsible governance (study 2), by heightening consumers’ own goals to be responsible (studies 3A-3B). We also find marketers employ goal-consistent advertising: Political (vs. nonpolitical) podcasts include more utilitarian (vs. hedonic) product advertisements (study 4). The effects are independent of consumers’ ideology or mood. This research thus introduces novel theory incorporating the macroinstitutional influence of political cues on consumer goals and choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Evoking goals to be responsible: When political cues increase utilitarian choice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this