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Essays on the Expression and Measurement of Consumer Preferences


I present three papers that each investigate an aspect of consumer preferences. In the first paper, I document preference reversals between willingness-to-pay and choice, and find that consumers are more likely to pay more for utilitarian goods but choose hedonic goods. I show that this is due, in part, to the greater level of deliberation inherent in generating willingness-to-pay values. In the second paper, I investigate how different features of choice design can lead consumers to select greater variety. I show that consumers choose variety in relation to the number of pathways to variety available to them. Finally, in the third paper, I show that consumers allow anticipated feelings of guilt about spending money to affect their preferences. I show that consumers have standards about how they believe they ought to spend money, I develop a scale to measure anticipated spending guilt, and I validate this scale by using it to predict purchase intentions above and beyond product liking.

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