Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Variety, Vice, and Virtue: How Assortment Size Influences Option Choice

11 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2008 Last revised: 13 Mar 2013

Aner Sela

University of Florida - Marketing Department

Jonah A. Berger

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Wendy Liu

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Date Written: June 24, 2008

Abstract

Research has demonstrated that assortment size can influence whether consumers make a choice, but could it also influence what they choose? Five studies demonstrate that because choosing from larger assortments is often more difficult, it leads people to select options that are easier to justify. Virtues and utilitarian necessities are generally easier to justify than indulgences, and consequently, choosing from larger assortments often shifts choice from vices to virtues and from hedonic to utilitarian options. These effects reverse, however, when situational factors provide accessible reasons to indulge, underscoring the role of justification. Implications for choice difficulty, justification processes, and decision making more broadly are discussed.

Suggested Citation

Sela, Aner and Berger, Jonah A. and Liu, Wendy, Variety, Vice, and Virtue: How Assortment Size Influences Option Choice (June 24, 2008). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35, No. 6, pp. 941-951, April 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1150853

Aner Sela (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Marketing Department ( email )

267F Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/anersela/home

Jonah A. Berger

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

Wendy Liu

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

HOME PAGE: http://management.ucsd.edu/faculty/directory/wendy-liu/

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,248
Rank
12,329
Abstract Views
6,247