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Are People Willing to Pay More for Socially Responsible Products: A Meta-Analysis

Posted: 29 Mar 2013  

Stephanie M. Tully

University of Southern California - Marketing Department

Russell S. Winer

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing

Date Written: March 27, 2013

Abstract

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 In this paper, we conduct a meta-analysis of eighty-three published and unpublished research papers across a large number of product categories and countries and using different data collection methodologies to better understand differences in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

Suggested Citation

Tully, Stephanie M. and Winer, Russell S., Are People Willing to Pay More for Socially Responsible Products: A Meta-Analysis (March 27, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2240535 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2240535

Stephanie M. Tully

University of Southern California - Marketing Department ( email )

Hoffman Hall 701
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1427
United States

Russell S. Winer (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Marketing ( email )

Henry Kaufman Ctr
44 W 4 St.
New York, NY
United States
212-998-0540 (Phone)
212-995-4006 (Fax)

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