Information will be updated throughout the summer and fall.


Dafna Goor

The Impostor Syndrome from Luxury Consumption
The present research proposes that luxury consumption can be a double-edged sword: while luxury consumption yields status benefits, it can also make consumers feel inauthentic, because consumers perceive it as an undue privilege. As a result, paradoxically, luxury consumption may backfire and lead consumers to behave less confidently due to their undermined feelings of self-authenticity. Feelings of inauthenticity from luxury consumption are less pronounced among consumers with high levels of chronic psychological entitlement, and they are reduced when consumers’ sense of entitlement is temporarily boosted. The effects are robust across studies conducted in the lab and in field settings such as the Metropolitan Opera, Martha’s Vineyard, a luxury shopping center, and the Upper East Side in New York, featuring relevant consumption contexts and participant populations including luxury target segments.
Faculty Advisor(s): A.Keinan (Co-Chair), M. Norton (Co-Chair), C.Morewedge, and J. Gourville

Organizational Behavior

Yanhua Bird

Strategic Downward Selection: Evidence from A Peer-to-peer Platform Market
Contrary to the general view that market participants seek exchange partners with superior market standing for materials, information, and visibility, this article posits that in some markets in which one’s success depends almost entirely on counterparties’ evaluations—a rarely considered situation in the literature of exchange partner selection—they may seek partners with inferior standing. I propose that concerns regarding evaluations—that will be made by one’s exchange partners after transactions— influence whom one chooses to transact with at the outset. Specifically, market participants infer exchange partners’ evaluation standards from their relative market standing. Comparing themselves with their prospective partners, they anticipate that those with higher market standing are likely to have higher evaluation standards that can be difficult to meet. To reduce evaluation anxiety, they therefore seek partners with inferior standing who are more likely to be satisfied with their offerings and provide positive evaluations. I test these ideas using data on a peer-to-peer lodging platform market in which evaluations are crucial and all participants list their own homes, making it an ideal testing ground. Analysis of user transaction data and interview data strongly supports my prediction: instead of choosing guests with nicer or equivalent homes, a host is more inclined to approve requests from prospective guests with inferior homes. This is more pronounced when the host had recently experienced a decrease in ratings such that the host’s evaluation anxiety is heightened, and when the host is familiar with the comparison group, such as domestic guests, so social comparison is easier. This study contributes to theories of exchange partner selection, evaluation, and commensuration and advances the literature on peer-to-peer economies.
Faculty Advisor(s): J. Battilana (Chair), Y. LeiC. Marquis, and M. Toffel

Karen Huang

Veil-of-ignorance Reasoning Favors the Greater Good
The “veil of ignorance” is a moral reasoning device designed to promote impartial decision-making by denying decision-makers access to potentially biasing information about who will benefit most or least from the available options. Veil-of-ignorance reasoning was originally applied by philosophers and economists to foundational questions concerning the overall organization of society. Here we apply veil-of-ignorance reasoning in a more focused way to specific moral dilemmas, all of which involve a tension between the greater good and competing moral concerns. Across six experiments (N = 5,690), three pre-registered, we find that veil-of-ignorance reasoning favors the greater good. Participants first engaged in veil-of-ignorance reasoning about a specific dilemma, asking themselves what they would want if they did not know who among those affected they would be. Participants then responded to a more conventional version of the same dilemma with a moral judgment, a policy preference, or an economic choice. Participants who first engaged in veil-of-ignorance reasoning subsequently made more utilitarian choices in response to a classic philosophical dilemma, a medical dilemma, a real donation decision between a more vs. less effective charity, and a policy decision concerning the social dilemma of autonomous vehicles. These effects depend on the impartial thinking induced by veil-of-ignorance reasoning and cannot be explained by a simple anchoring account, probabilistic reasoning, or generic perspective-taking. These studies indicate that veil-of-ignorance reasoning may be a useful tool for decision-makers who wish to make more impartial and/or socially beneficial choices.

Jeffrey Lees

The Consequences of Inaccurate Group Meta-Perception
Faculty Advisor(s): F. GinoM.Cikara, and A. Waytz