A Dirty Word or a Dirty World? Attribute Framing, Political Affiliation, and Query Theory
25 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 13, 2009
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
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