Special Session Summary Experiential Perspectives on the Economics of Everyday Life

Michael S. Mulvey, Rutgers University
Douglas E. Allen, Bucknell University
[ to cite ]:
Michael S. Mulvey and Douglas E. Allen (2000) ,"Special Session Summary Experiential Perspectives on the Economics of Everyday Life", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27, eds. Stephen J. Hoch and Robert J. Meyer, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 12.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27, 2000      Page 12

SPECIAL SESSION SUMMARY

EXPERIENTIAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE ECONOMICS OF EVERYDAY LIFE

Michael S. Mulvey, Rutgers University

Douglas E. Allen, Bucknell University

In this session, we confront economic behavior with a distinctly consumer-focused perspective. Going to the heart of the economic beastBmoney, investing, and pricingBwe re-examine the archetype of the calculative, rational economic-man through the lens of consumer experience.

 

"UNDERSTANDING THE MEANINGS OF MONEY AND CONSUMERS’ MONEY STRATEGIES"

Michael S. Mulvey, Rutgers University

Jerry C. Olson, Penn State University

Observing that people have different styles of using money, the authors introduce the concept of a Money Management Style (MMS) to characterize the consistency in how individuals think, feel and act with money across situations. To further refine this important concept, a diverse set of 27 consumers was interviewed. The analysis began by profiling each informant’s MMS. Next, the focus shifted across cases to uncover the conceptual roots of consumers’ MMSs. Finally, the authors presented a holistic model that organizes the key concepts and relationships underlying consumers’ MMSs into a system of terms.

 

"RENDERING REASONABLE THE APPARENTLY IRRATIONAL: PERSONAL INVESTING AS SYMBOLIC CONSUMPTION"

Douglas E. Allen and Elton McGoun, Bucknell University

Doug Allen and Elton McGoun, a Professor of Finance, focused on the phenomenon of personal investing. The increasing popularity of active trading and investing is paradoxical in light of substantial evidence which suggests that such attempts to "beat the market" are futile. Modern finance theory assumes that market efficiency prevents any individual from gaining an advantage. Why then do people invest? To explain this paradox, the authors point out that although the goal of investing is normally presumed to be the rational pursuit of profit maximization, consumers may also invest because it is fun and yields important cultural meanings. To further explore the hedonic experiences andsymbolic meanings consumers derive from investing, the authors apply Holt’s (1995) taxonomy of consumption practices to data gathered from pages of 10 "best-selling" investment guides.

 

"THE CUSTOMER DIMENSIONS OF MENU COSTS"

Mark Ritson, London Business School

Mark Bergen, University of Minnesota

Mark Zbracki, University of Pennsylvania

Daniel Levy, Emory University

Shatanu Dutta, University of Southern California

One of the most important emerging areas within economics is the study of menu costs. Menu costs can be defined as the costs of changing price and are important because many economists believe they may well be responsible for the rigidity of prices across markets. Despite this importance, menu costs have typically only included the managerial time spent changing prices and the actual costs of making that change within the organization. What is missing from this definition are the costs experienced by consumers as they encounter and react to a particular price change. This presentation describes an ethnographic study that explored the menu costs that were experienced by consumers when an organization decided to change its prices.

Following the presentations, Jerry Olson served as discussion facilitator to encourage dialogue among audience members. In keeping with the aims of the session, the presentations sparked renewed discourse on the economics of everyday life. Consumer research needs to develop its own ways of studying the economics of everyday life and to contribute to the inter-disciplinary discourse on economic behavior.

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