Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2147919
 


 



On the Psychology of Scarcity: When Reminders of Resource Scarcity Promote Selfish (and Generous) Behavior


Caroline Roux


Concordia University, John Molson School of Business

Kelly Goldsmith


Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Andrea Bonezzi


New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

August 26, 2015


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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 67

Keywords: resource scarcity, selfishness, generosity, competitive orientation, welfare advancement, judgment and decision making, social psychology, consumer behavior, marketing


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Date posted: September 17, 2012 ; Last revised: September 1, 2015

Suggested Citation

Roux, Caroline and Goldsmith, Kelly and Bonezzi, Andrea, On the Psychology of Scarcity: When Reminders of Resource Scarcity Promote Selfish (and Generous) Behavior (August 26, 2015). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2147919 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2147919

Contact Information

Caroline Roux
Concordia University, John Molson School of Business ( email )
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8
Canada
HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/profcaroroux/
Kelly Goldsmith (Contact Author)
Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )
2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/goldsmith/htm/
Andrea Bonezzi
New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States
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