Preference Gap Matters: When Scarcity Polarizes Versus Converges Preferences

Yuechen Wu, University of Maryland, USA
Meng Zhu, Johns Hopkins University
Rebecca Ratner, University of Maryland, USA
We explore when and why scarcity converges versus polarizes consumer preferences. Results show scarcity narrows attention on primary (vs. secondary) attribute, leading to preference convergence (vs. polarization) when prior preference gap is small (vs. large). Furthermore, preference convergence arising from scarcity leads to increased decision difficulty and decreased decision satisfaction.
[ to cite ]:
Yuechen Wu, Meng Zhu, and Rebecca Ratner (2016) ,"Preference Gap Matters: When Scarcity Polarizes Versus Converges Preferences", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 44, eds. Page Moreau and Stefano Puntoni, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 687-688.