Women's Disempowerment and the Market for Skin Whitening Products: Experimental Evidence from India

Posted: 18 Nov 2016

See all articles by Arzi Adbi

Arzi Adbi

INSEAD

Chirantan Chatterjee

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

Zoe Kinias

INSEAD

Jasjit Singh

INSEAD; INSEAD

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 8, 2016

Abstract

Free market advocates consider consumer choice unambiguously welfare-enhancing, but critics argue that availability of certain products can be detrimental for society. Contributing to this debate, we study the case of controversial skin whitening products sold widely in emerging markets. Although positioned as empowering female consumers by providing more choice, these have been scrutinized for perpetuating women’s disempowerment by reinforcing sociocultural biases. To test these claims, we experimentally examine a possible relationship between women’s disempowerment and preference for skin whitening products in India, and find some evidence of a positive relationship. Participants primed temporarily to feel more disempowered show greater preference for the stronger (and medically risky) products, but not for the milder ones. Implications from our findings for corporate social responsibility and policy are discussed.

Keywords: Women’s Disempowerment, Skin Whitening Products, Corporate Social Responsibility, Emerging Markets, Experimental Research Design

Suggested Citation

Adbi, Arzi and Chatterjee, Chirantan and Kinias, Zoe and Singh, Jasjit, Women's Disempowerment and the Market for Skin Whitening Products: Experimental Evidence from India (November 8, 2016). IIM Bangalore Research Paper No. 527. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2866336

Arzi Adbi (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://www.insead.edu

Chirantan Chatterjee

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad ( email )

Vastrapur
Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380 015
India

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.iima.ac.in/web/faculty/faculty-profiles/chirantan-chatterjee

Zoe Kinias

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

Jasjit Singh

INSEAD ( email )

1 Ayer Rajah Avenue
Singapore, 138676
Singapore
+65 67995341 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.insead.edu/singhj/

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

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