Are People Willing to Pay More for Socially Responsible Products: A Meta-Analysis
Stephanie M. Tully
University of Southern California - Marketing Department
Russell S. Winer
New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing
March 27, 2013
Many companies have made significant investments in socially responsible products. Environmentally safe cleaning products, fair trade coffee, and sustainable seafood are just a few examples. In this paper, we conduct a meta-analysis of eighty-three published and unpublished research papers across a large number of product categories and countries and using different data collection methodologies to better understand differences in willingness to pay for socially responsible products. We use two dependent variables: the percentage premium people are willing to pay and the proportion of respondents who are willing to pay a positive premium. We find that the mean premium is 17.3% and that this percentage is lower for durable than for non-durable goods and higher for goods where the behavior benefits humans (e.g., labor practices) than animals (e.g., bigger cages) or the environment. On average, 60% of respondents are willing to pay a positive premium and this does not vary by whether the good is durable. Further, along with products that benefit humans, products that benefit animals are shown to increase the number of people willing to pay a premium compared to environmentally friendly goods. Implications for retailers, manufacturers, and future research are discussed.
Keywords: meta-analysis, social responsibility, willingness-to-pay, environment, fair trade, animal rights
JEL Classification: D4, M3, Q26
Date posted: March 29, 2013
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