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Research Talk on Consumer Reactance to Conditional Discounts

Prof. Marco Bertini from ESADE Bar­celona held a talk on con­sumer re­act­ance to con­di­tional dis­counts as part of our De­part­ment’s Re­search Sem­inar Ser­ies. The presen­ted re­search sug­gests that dis­counts tied to non-­mon­et­ary con­di­tions in par­tic­u­lar (such as com­plet­ing a ques­tion­naire or mak­ing a re­fer­ral), while be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­ular with com­pan­ies, can ac­tu­ally frus­trate con­sumers. Even though con­di­tional dis­counts are typ­ic­ally jus­ti­fied as a sharper means of price dis­crim­in­a­tion, they might thus back­fire by cre­at­ing re­act­ance and con­sequently pro­vok­ing con­sumer be­ha­vi­ors that harm a busi­ness. Bertini and col­leagues show this ef­fect in  a ser­ies of lab and field ex­per­i­ments: Re­act­ance, while not af­fect­ing the use of the dis­count per se, can mani­fest pre­cisely as a cut in spend­ing as con­sumers retali­ate by choos­ing fewer or cheaper op­tions than they would in re­sponse to a stand­ard (un­con­di­tional) dis­count.  

We thank Marco for his visit, and the in­spir­ing talk and dis­cus­sions. For in­form­a­tion on the up­com­ing guest speak­ers at the Re­search Sem­inar Ser­ies, please check the agenda.

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