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Buying for good: altruism, ethical consumerism and social policy

Le Grand, Julian ORCID: 0000-0002-7864-0118, Roberts, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0003-4827-867X and Chandra, Gauri (2021) Buying for good: altruism, ethical consumerism and social policy. Social Policy and Administration, 55 (7). 1341 - 1355. ISSN 0144-5596

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Identification Number: 10.1111/spol.12729


The extent of altruistic behaviour and its relationship to the market has been a major interest of social policy analysts since the pioneering work of Richard Titmuss. Here we report on empirical research into such behaviour in consumer markets where self-interest might be expected to dominate but whose participants are increasingly demonstrating more ethical concerns. We discuss three factors that have been hypothesized to affect the extent and depth of altruistic behaviour by individuals in such markets: the degree of personal sacrifice involved in the purchase, the reputation of individuals with their family and friends and individuals' sense of self-identity. Using an online survey method, we measure consumers' motivations for real purchases in two different ethical consumerism settings: (RED) and Fairtrade. We find evidence to support all three hypotheses and conclude with some of the implications for social policy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Marshall Ins for Philanthropy & Soc Entr
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 04 May 2021 15:45
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 20:45

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