Consumer Welfare Considerations ACRoss Literacy and Resource Barriers

Roland Gau, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Madhu Viswanathan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Our research on low-literate, low-income consumers in the U.S. and India finds a variety of behaviors indicative of concrete thinking (e.g., buying based on a single attribute, often price, buying based on immediate need), often resulting in poor marketplace decisions (e.g., buying incorrect items, buying items with higher unit prices, foregoing substitute items). However, some low-literate consumers exhibit consumer expertise, a seemingly surprising result, given extant expertise perspectives. Our experience with educational interventions also suggests some counter-intuitive results, given our understanding of literacy. Thus, aspects of consumer welfare (e.g., consumer education, communication of product information) should be reconsidered for low-literate consumers.
[ to cite ]:
Roland Gau and Madhu Viswanathan (2009) ,"Consumer Welfare Considerations ACRoss Literacy and Resource Barriers", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 112-113.