Public Policy Prescriptions From Consumer Research

Session Chair: Nina Mazar, MIT Sloan School of Management
Discussion Leader: Joel Cohen, University of Florida

Special Topic Session

Public Policy Prescriptions from Consumer research



Paper 1

Almost Honest: Internal and External Motives for Honesty

Nina Mazar, On Amir

MIT Sloan School of Management, Yale School of Management


Our work addresses the question whether decisions about being honest or dishonest are solely driven by rational considerations of the external benefits (e.g., having more money) and costs (i.e. punishment in case of being caught) of the dishonest act. The findings from our experiments show that this rational model is incomplete: Individuals seem to have internalized social norms, and, when activated, behaving in accordance with these internalized norms is rewarding. Based on these results we offer suggestions on how to design more effective and efficient policies for punishments and programs for the prevention of crime and deception.


Paper 2

A Repeated Decision-Making Framework for Understanding Decisions about Protective Measures: The “Magical Thinking” Model

Barbara E. Kahn, Mary Frances Luce

The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania, Fuqua School of Business

Duke University


We address lapsed use of protective measures, whereby consumers neglect to remain vigilant over time.  We apply our model to the experimental contexts of medical screening tests and safety measures.  We focus on the dual implications of “false positive” events where use of the protective measure causes some “hassle” and “false security” events where the protective measure is neglected but the threat is unrealized.  We argue these events influence adherence through “magical thinking” processes of incorrect causal inference and we investigate how these inferences interact with processes of coping with emotional reactions to the underlying threats.


Paper 3

Social psychological motivations in nonprofit marketing

Jen Shang, Rachel Croson

Psychology Department University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania


Recently funding for activities such as education, healthcare, and other public services has been transformed to become more dependent on local and individual funding sources, and less reliant on taxation and government revenue.  As a consequence of these changes, and in anticipation of a continuation of this trend, it is important to better understand the motivations for voluntarily contributions toward the provision of public goods.  In this research we investigate these issues in the domain of public radio.  The first set of studies identifies the motivations for contributing, and the second set examines the impact of social norms on contribution.
[ to cite ]:
Session Chair: Nina Mazar and Discussion Leader: Joel Cohen (2006) ,"Public Policy Prescriptions From Consumer Research", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 570-575.