Perceived control and scarcity appeals

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Seon Min Lee
Gangseog Ryu
Seungwoo Chun
Cite this article:  Lee, S., Ryu, G., & Chun, S. (2018). Perceived control and scarcity appeals. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 46(3), 361-374.


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We examined how individuals would respond to scarcity appeals when they felt low (vs. high) in personal control. We proposed that scarcity would be an effective way to compensate for loss of control because it symbolizes distinctiveness, stimulates urgency, and offers an opportunity to obtain resources. Results from 2 experiments confirmed our prediction. In Study 1, participants (64 Korean college students) indicated a greater intention to purchase a limited-edition product when they perceived low (vs. high) control. In Study 2, participants (228 Korean college students) who perceived low (vs. high) control chose a larger-sized product more often when the product used an only-time frame than when it did an any-time frame. Our findings contribute to the literature by introducing a compensatory paradigm to scarcity effects and identifying its promotional use as a new mechanism for compensatory control.

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