Scarcity, sex, and spending

by Christopher David. Rodeheffer

Institution: Texas Christian University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Recessions.
Record ID: 2047279
Full text PDF: https://repository.tcu.edu/handle/116099117/6053


"Although economic recessions often signal demise for many companies, those that manufacture and sell non-essential luxury products seem to fare unusually well under these conditions. Applying insights from evolutionary psychology and costly signaling theory, I explore the possibility that an explanation for this puzzling trend may lie in how economic recessions alter women's mating psychology and the value of the costly signals that luxury products provide. In each of my three experiments, participants were primed with recessionary or control cues. Participants then assessed the perceived wealth of targets possessing luxury products (Study 1), the attractiveness of those who own luxury products (Study 2), and their desire to purchase luxury products (Study 3). Results revealed that economic recession cues lead women to find men who own luxury products to be significantly more attractive than they find them in the absence of these cues and - perhaps as a means of capitalizing on this shift - leads to a corresponding increase in men's desire to purchase them. These findings contribute to a growing literature demonstrating a conceptual link between economic conditions, mate preferences, and consumer behavior" – Abstract.