All that glitters is not gold: How others' status influences the effect of power distance belief on status consumption

Huachao Gao, Karen Page Winterich, Yinlong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

This research proposes the relationship between power distance belief (PDB) and status consumption is moderated by the salience of others and their associated status (others' status). When others' status is not superior (similar or inferior), high-PDB consumers are more likely to engage in status consumption than low- PDB consumers. However, when others' status is superior, high-PDB consumers are less likely to engage in status consumption. Both signaling effectiveness and need for status underlie the effect of PDB on status consumption. Need for status mediates the effect of PDB only when others' status is not superior, whereas signaling effectiveness mediates the effect of PDB on status consumption when others' status is superior, similar, or inferior. Compared to low-PDB consumers, high-PDB consumers perceive greater signaling effectiveness when others' status is inferior or similar, but they perceive less signaling effectiveness, and therefore engage in less status consumption, when others' status is superior. When status goods are consumed in private, and therefore not effective at signaling status, the interaction of others' status and PDB is mitigated. This research articulates the nuanced effect of PDB on status consumption depending on others' status as well as the multiple mechanisms underlying status consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-281
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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