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A test of willingness to pay as penance in the demand for ethical consumption

Sandra Goff ()

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2021, vol. 94, issue C

Abstract: This work uses an experimental design with random assignment to test the effect of guilt on demand for ethical product attributes, with a focus on goods produced by monasteries and other religiously affiliated organizations. On average, individuals assigned a positive premium to organic and local attributes, but only those with a religious affiliation assigned a positive value to the monastic attribute. Induction of reactive guilt was found to increase non-religious participants’ product ratings, but to decrease ratings among those with a religious affiliation. These findings suggest that the monastic attribute is not universally desirable despite that monastic, organic, and local producers share many of the same ethical principles. These results also underscore potentially important heterogeneity in moral cleansing behaviors by religious identity. The potential for religious identity to affect moral balancing has important implications for the study of pro-social and pro-environmental behavior, broadly, and ethical consumption, more specifically. Together, these findings contribute to the literature on the effect of moral emotions on economic behavior and provide the first analysis of willingness to pay for monastic goods.

Keywords: Guilt; Religiosity; Monastic; Organic; Moral cleansing; Ethical consumption (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2021.101744

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Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics) is currently edited by Pablo Brañas Garza

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:94:y:2021:i:c:s2214804321000847