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A Dirty Word or a Dirty World? Attribute Framing, Political Affiliation, and Query Theory

25 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2009  

David J. Hardisty

Sauder School of Business

Eric J. Johnson

Columbia Business School - Marketing

Elke U. Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology

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Date Written: August 13, 2009

Abstract

We explored the effect of attribute framing on choice, labeling charges for environmental costs as either an earmarked tax or an offset. 898 Americans chose between otherwise identical products or services, where one option included a surcharge for emitted CO2. The cost framing changed preferences for self-identified Republicans and Independents, but did not affect Democrats' preferences. We explain this interaction using Query Theory and show that attribute framing can change the order in which internal queries supporting one or the other choice option are posed. The effect of attribute labeling on query order is shown to depend on the representations of either taxes or offsets held by people with different political affiliations.

Keywords: attribute framing, constructive preference, consumer choice, memory representation, political affiliation, Query Theory

Suggested Citation

Hardisty, David J. and Johnson, Eric J. and Weber, Elke U., A Dirty Word or a Dirty World? Attribute Framing, Political Affiliation, and Query Theory (August 13, 2009). Psychological Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1448816

Eric J. Johnson

Columbia Business School - Marketing ( email )

New York, NY 10027
United States

Elke U. Weber

Columbia Business School - Management & Psychology ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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