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The effects of ethical framing on consumer price perceptions

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to investigate one of the potential cues that may influence the price consumers are willing to pay for products. This paper seeks to investigate the use of ethically framed marketing efforts in influencing price perceptions among consumers of health and beauty products Design/methodology/approach ‐ The exploratory online experiment was completed in two parts: the first with 84 participants and the second with 61 participants. Findings ‐ Results show that consumers expect prices to be much higher when the product is produced under ethical conditions but they are willing to pay only slightly more for ethically produced products. Research limitations/implications ‐ The participants were a convenience sample and thus the results are not generalizable. While being socially responsible is an end in itself, consumers may not allow the firms to increase prices to cover the increased costs of production. It is not apparent that consumers fully expect to share in the cost of a social responsible global economy. Originality/value ‐ The study offers insight into the difficulty firms have in producing products in an ethical manner and passing those costs to their customers. Considering the global financial conditions in 2008/2009, it may be even more difficult for firms to maintain ethical production methods.

Keywords: Consumers; Ethics; Pricing

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-09-20

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