All That Glitters Is Not Gold: How Others' Status Influences the Effect of Power Distance Belief on Status Consumption

Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 43(2), p. 265-281, August 2016

58 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2017

See all articles by Huachao Gao

Huachao Gao

University of Victoria, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business - Marketing

Karen Page Winterich

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration

Yinlong Zhang

University of Texas at San Antonio

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

This research proposes the relationship between Power Distance Belief (PDB) and status consumption is moderated by the salience of others and their associated status (others’ status). When others’ status is not superior (similar or inferior), high PDB consumers are more likely to engage in status consumption than low PDB consumers. However, when others’ status is superior, high PDB consumers are less likely to engage in status consumption. Both signaling effectiveness and need for status underlie the effect of PDB on status consumption. Need for status mediates the effect of PDB only when others’ status is not superior whereas signaling effectiveness mediates the effect of PDB on status consumption when others’ status is superior, similar or inferior. Compared to low PDB consumers, high PDB consumers perceive greater signaling effectiveness when others’ status is inferior or similar, but perceive less signaling effectiveness, and therefore engage in less status consumption, when others’ status is superior. When status goods are consumed in private, and therefore not effective at signaling status, the interaction of others’ status and PDB is mitigated. This research articulates the nuanced effect of PDB on status consumption depending on others’ status as well as the multiple mechanisms underlying status consumption.

Keywords: Power Distance Belief, Status Consumption, Superiors, Social Comparison, Signaling Effectiveness, Need for Status

Suggested Citation

Gao, Huachao and Winterich, Karen Page and Zhang, Yinlong, All That Glitters Is Not Gold: How Others' Status Influences the Effect of Power Distance Belief on Status Consumption (August 2016). Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 43(2), p. 265-281, August 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2980970

Huachao Gao (Contact Author)

University of Victoria, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business - Marketing ( email )

Business & Economics Building, Room 256
Victoria, British Columbia
Canada
2504725503 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.uvic.ca/gustavson/faculty/faculty/faculty/current/gaoh.php

Karen Page Winterich

Pennsylvania State University - Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

Yinlong Zhang

University of Texas at San Antonio ( email )

One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249
United States

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