Do What Consumers Say Matter? The Misalignment of Preferences with Unconstrained Ethical Intentions
46 Pages Posted: 17 May 2006 Last revised: 12 Nov 2015
Date Written: April 1, 2006
Nearly all studies of consumers willingness to engage in ethical or socially responsible purchasing behavior is based on unconstrained survey response methods. In the present paper we ask the question of how well does asking consumers the extent to which they care about a specific social or ethical issue relate to how they would behave in a more constrained environment where there is no socially acceptable response. The results of a comparison between traditional survey questions of intention to purchase and estimates of individuals willingness-to-pay for social attributes in products reveal that simple survey questions are too noisy to provide operationally meaningful information and overstate intentions to a considerable extent.
Keywords: ethical products, survey methods, willingness to pay
JEL Classification: M14, M31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation