Buying Power

Kevin Lewis

June 03, 2023

Give Me the Facts or Make Me Feel: How to Effectively Persuade Consumers to Act on a Collective Goal
Liyin Jin, Yajin Wang & Ying Zhang
Journal of Marketing, forthcoming 


This research explores how marketers can best persuade consumers to act in a collective goal context, such as giving to a donation campaign or signing a petition. The authors examine whether consumers respond differently to fact-based versus affect-based persuasive messages at different stages of a collective campaign. Seven studies demonstrate that the relative impact of fact-based versus affect-based appeals changes with varying distance to the completion of the collective goal. Whereas a fact-based message better persuades consumers to support a collective goal when the distance to completion is large (i.e., far from completion), an affect-based message better persuades consumers to support the goal when the distance to completion is small (i.e., near completion). This enhanced persuasion occurs because the psychological state triggered by the remaining distance matches the message type and, in turn, encourages deeper processing of the appeal.

Reference Points Spillovers: Micro-Level Evidence from Real Estate
Marco Giacoletti & Christopher Parsons
Review of Financial Studies, forthcoming 


Homeowners who originally bought when marketwide price levels were high (low) fetch high (low) sales prices and rents, even decades later. We study the propagation of reference-dependence to neighboring listings. The "spillover" reference point effect is about one-half as large as the "own" reference point effect. Neither house quality nor location appears capable of explaining the result. Using a simple model to provide empirical predictions, we find support for a competition-based mechanism. We quantify the aggregate effect of own and spillover reference point effects on aggregate prices and/or rents at the ZIP code level.

"Want" versus "Need": How Linguistic Framing Influences Responses to Crowdfunding Appeals
Lei Su et al.
Journal of Consumer Research, forthcoming 


This research uses a crowdfunding context to examine when and why a simple difference in frame -- using "want" versus "need" in the request -- affects funders' compliance with an appeal for contributions. Building on the semantic framing and psycholinguistics literature, we propose that using "want" (versus "need") signals that the fundraiser is a relatively less (vs. more) dependent person. This perception difference then exerts opposing effects on the two major forms of crowdfunding appeals. For reward-based appeals, in which fundraisers promise a return on contribution, funders have a for-profit (i.e., incentive-seeking) goal and are more willing to contribute to a less dependent fundraiser. In contrast, for donation-based appeals, in which no incentives are promised by the fundraisers, funders are primarily motivated by a non-profit (i.e., helping) goal, and are more willing to contribute to a fundraiser who is seen as more dependent on help. Therefore, we predict that a "want" ("need") frame is more effective in reward-based (donation-based) crowdfunding. Results from two large-scale observational studies and four experiments support our predictions and also illuminate the underlying mechanisms. Collectively, the findings contribute to the literature on semantic framing and crowdfunding, and also offer practical implications for fundraisers, marketers, and policymakers.

The Art of Slowness: Slow Motion Enhances Consumer Evaluations by Increasing Processing Fluency
Anika Stuppy, Jan Landwehr & Peter McGraw
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming


Slow motion is a popular video editing tool used to enhance short-form videos (e.g., reels, stories, GIFs), which are commonly found in media entertainment and marketing communications. This research shows that slow motion increases the virality (e.g., likes, votes, views) of short-form videos and boosts brand liking, choice, and willingness to pay. The effect occurs because slow motion enhances the hedonic component of the viewing experience via processing fluency. By documenting how the success of slow motion is subject to moderators, this work shows marketers, entertainment producers, and everyday people how to use slow motion more effectively. Across a large-scale field dataset and six experiments, the authors highlight that slow motion is especially effective when applied to short-form videos that are inherently pleasant and that involve complex movements that are difficult to perceive at regular speed. However, even simple movements benefit from slow motion when content creators zoom in on subtle movements to increase complexity. Slow motion, moreover, is more effective when viewers engage in less elaborate processing. Finally, the authors show that the perceived disfluency of fast-motion editing is effective at boosting brand evaluations when viewers desire excitement.

Unintended Consequences of Advances in Matching Technologies: Information Revelation and Strategic Participation on Gig-Economy Platforms
Yi Liu et al.
Management Science, forthcoming


Recent years have witnessed significant advancements in matching technologies used to improve the matching between workers and employers requesting job tasks on a gig-economy platform. Although conventional wisdom suggests that technologies with higher matching quality benefit the platform by assigning better-matched jobs to workers, we discover a possible unintended revenue-decreasing effect. Our stylized game-theoretic model suggests that, although a technology's matching enhancement effect can increase a platform's revenue, the jobs assigned by the better matching technology can also unintentionally reveal more information about uncertain labor demand to workers, especially when demand is low, and thus unfavorably change workers' participation decisions, resulting in a revenue loss for the platform. We extend our model to cases in which (1) the share of revenue between workers and platform is endogenous, (2) the matching quality can be improved continuously, (3) the opportunity cost of workers is affected by competition between platforms, and (4) workers compete for job tasks. We find consistent results with additional insights, including the optimal matching quality that a platform should pursue. Furthermore, we examine two approaches to mitigate the potential negative effect of using an advanced matching technology for the platform and find that under certain conditions, the platform can benefit from revealing labor demand or competition information directly to workers. Our results shed light on both the intended positive and unintended negative effects of improvements in matching quality and highlight the importance of thoughtful development, management, and application of matching technologies in the gig economy.

Unveiling Stars: How Graphical Displays of Online Consumer Ratings Affect Consumer Perception and Judgment
Javad Mousavi et al.
Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming 


Prior research has indicated that consumers' decisions are significantly influenced by online reviews. However, existing research has focused mainly on attributes (e.g., average ratings) that are not fully controlled by firms; only limited research has investigated how controllable attributes (e.g., review display formats) affect consumers. Drawing on visual perception research, the authors examine the effectiveness of two prominent graphical display formats used by major e-commerce platforms -- one that displays rating distributions in a proportional format (e.g., Amazon) and one that does so in a simple format (e.g., Google). The results indicate that due to the changes in graphs' reference points caused by the shrunken x-axis in simple bar graphs, consumers respond more positively to an item when its rating distribution is displayed in a graphically simple (vs. proportional) format. This effect is moderated by the distribution's peak value (i.e., the share of the most frequent rating) and imbalance score (i.e., the difference between the share of positive and negative ratings). Furthermore, even an item's future ratings are influenced by the graphical format in which its prior ratings are displayed. The contributions to the marketing literature are discussed, and insights that can aid managers in making more informed decisions are provided.


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