Generous paupers and stingy princes: Power drives consumer spending on self versus others

Derek D. Rucker, David Dubois, Adam D. Galinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


This research examines how consumers' spending on themselves versus others can be affected by temporary shifts in their states of power. Five experiments found that individuals experiencing a state of power spent more money on themselves than on others, whereas those experiencing a state of powerlessness spent more money on others than on themselves. This effect was observed using a variety of power manipulations (hierarchical roles, print advertisements, episodic recall, and mental role-playing), across spending intentions and actual dollars spent, and among college and national samples. We propose that this effect occurs because power and powerlessness affect the psychological utility of self versus others, and this in turn affects the monetary worth allocated to spending on self versus others. The research makes novel contributions to appreciating how the spending on the self versus others varies as a function of psychological states and increases ourunder standing of the role of power in consumer behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1029
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Generous paupers and stingy princes: Power drives consumer spending on self versus others'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this