Abstract

Consumption of certain products or services often brings status or prestige to the consumer. Such status consumption plays an essential role in the lives of many consumers and in today's economy. In my two dissertation essays, I seek to examine the role of status consumption in consumer behavior context. In the first essay, I explore the connection between status consumption and charitable donation behavior. The results of nine studies demonstrate that status consumption, considered a self-centered behavior, leads to increased charitable donations, a prosocial outcome. This effect is driven by subjective feelings of empowerment that consumers derive from status consumption. My second essay investigates inferences made about consumers who share word of mouth about their status products. I demonstrate across 12 studies that word of mouth about status products decreases consumers' perceived status in the eyes of other people. This is because word of mouth about their status products reduces the perceived cultural capital of status consumers, which in turn reduces the perception of status. This is paradoxical since consumers share word of mouth about their status products with the intention to elevate their status in the eyes of others. In the two essays, I use both lab and field experiments to test my hypotheses, employ both mediation and moderation methods to test the psychological processes, rule out an array of alternative explanations, and explore several boundary conditions. I conclude the two essays by outlining their contributions to both theory and marketing practice.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2020

Semester

Summer

Advisor

He, Xin

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Business Administration

Degree Program

Business Administration; Marketing

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008191

Language

English

Release Date

August 2025

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

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