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Specification Seeking: How Product Specifications Influence Consumer Preference

15 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2008  

Christopher K. Hsee

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Yang Yang

University of Florida

Yangjie Gu

HEC Paris

Jie Chen

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Antai College of Economics and Management

Date Written: October 21, 2008

Abstract

We offer a framework about when and how specifications (e.g., megapixels of a camera and number of air bags in a massage chair) influence consumer preferences and report five studies that test the framework. Studies 1-3 show that even when consumers can directly experience the relevant products and the specifications carry little or no new information, their preference is still influenced by specifications, including specifications that are self-generated and by definition spurious and specifications that the respondents themselves deem uninformative. Studies 4 and 5 show that relative to choice, hedonic preference (liking) is more stable and less influenced by specifications.

Keywords: specifiication, consumer preference, decision

JEL Classification: D81, D11, D12, D91

Suggested Citation

Hsee, Christopher K. and Yang, Yang and Gu, Yangjie and Chen, Jie, Specification Seeking: How Product Specifications Influence Consumer Preference (October 21, 2008). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1290867

Christopher K. Hsee (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Yang Yang

University of Florida ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/yy1/

Yangjie Gu

HEC Paris ( email )

1 Rue De La Libération,
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
France

Jie Chen

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Antai College of Economics and Management ( email )

No.535 Fahuazhen Road
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai, Shanghai 200052
China

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