Women’s Disempowerment and Preference for Skin Whitening Products: Experimental Evidence

Adbi, A and Chatterjee, C and Kinias, Z and Singh, J (2018) Women’s Disempowerment and Preference for Skin Whitening Products: Experimental Evidence. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2018 (1). ISSN 0065-0668

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Free market advocates consider consumer choice unambiguously welfare-enhancing. But opponents argue that consumers are often unable to make choices aligned with their well-being, and that being disempowered might sometimes drive preference for products with questionable impact. We contribute to this debate in the context of women making decisions regarding skin whitening products widely available in emerging markets. Specifically, we experimentally examine whether or not being in a state of psychological disempowerment influences Indian women’s preference for skin whitening products. Two experiments, using alternate approaches to recruit participants, find a positive effect of disempowerment on preference for the strong and risky pharmaceutical skin whitening products but not for the relatively mild cosmetic skin whitening products. These findings are unique to women, and are particularly prominent among women using skin whitening products regularly.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Applied Statistics and Computing
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2023 05:37
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 05:37
URI: https://eprints.exchange.isb.edu/id/eprint/2184

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