The price of threat: the role of identity-safe marketplaces in predicting intergroup price sensitivity
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In field experiments with subjects living either inside or outside Brazilian slums (n=955), we show that consumers living in slums are less price sensitive, in opposition with recent price sensitivity research. Comparing slum and non-slum dwellers, we found that negatively stereotyped consumers (e.g. slum dwellers) were more likely to pay higher amounts for friendlier customer service when facing social identity threats (SITs) in marketplaces such as banks. The mechanism which makes them less price sensitive is related to the perception of how other people evaluate their social groups, and we argue that they pay more because they are seeking identity-safe commercial relationships. This work, besides extending the literature in SITs, presents a perspective for the exchange between economics and psychology on price sensitivity, showing that consumers living in slums are willing to pay more to avoid possibly social identity threating experiences.