Voting with your pocketbook - a stochastic model of consumer boycotts

Daniel Diermeier*, Jan A. Van Mieghem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper presents a model of consumer boycotts where the discrete choices of concerned consumers are represented as stochastic processes. Boycotts are interpreted as a form of voting where consumers are trying to shape the behavior of firms. We solve for the limiting distribution of the process and analyze its properties. We then discuss how the model relates to standard game-theoretic approaches to the same phenomenon and show that our model selects one of the many solutions of the corresponding game-theoretic treatment. The type of solution selected depends on the costs and benefits of boycotts to consumers. Specifically, boycotts will occur if and only if they are efficient for consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1497-1509
Number of pages13
JournalMathematical and Computer Modelling
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Behavioral economics
  • Bounded rationality
  • Collective action
  • Game theory
  • Learning
  • Markov processes
  • Public goods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications


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