On the psychology of scarcity: When reminders of resource scarcity promote selfish (and generous) behavior

Caroline Roux, Kelly Goldsmith, Andrea Bonezzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

Consumers often encounter reminders of resource scarcity. However, relatively little is known about the psychological processes that such reminders instantiate. In this article, we posit that reminders of resource scarcity activate a competitive orientation, which guides consumers' decision making towards advancing their own welfare. Further, we reveal that this tendency can manifest in behaviors that appear selfish, but also in behaviors that appear generous, in conditions where generosity allows for personal gains. The current research thus offers a more nuanced understanding of why resource scarcity may promote behaviors that appear either selfish or generous in different contexts, and provides one way to reconcile seemingly conflicting prior findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-631
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • Competitive orientation
  • Generous
  • Resource scarcity
  • Selfish
  • Welfare advancement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'On the psychology of scarcity: When reminders of resource scarcity promote selfish (and generous) behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this