Leapfrogging Over the Joneses: When Equality Increases Conspicuous Consumption Among Bottom-Tier Consumers
In five studies, we demonstrate that increasing the equality of possessions or income in a social group increases the happiness and decreases the envy of people in the lowest tier of the distribution, but nevertheless increases their conspicuous consumption. This happens because conspicuous consumption enables people at the bottom of the distribution to "leapfrog" ahead of more people (hence gain more ranks) when most people are equal than when they are unequal. This effect disappears when consumption is inconspicuous; when social indifference (vs. competition) goals are primed; and in a cooperative (vs. competitive) social environment.
Nailya Ordabayeva and Pierre Chandon (2011) ,"Leapfrogging Over the Joneses: When Equality Increases Conspicuous Consumption Among Bottom-Tier Consumers", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9, eds. Alan Bradshaw, Chris Hackley, and Pauline Maclaran, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 516.
Nailya Ordabayeva, Erasmus University, the Netherlands
Pierre Chandon, INSEAD, France
E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9 | 2011
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