Foxall, G.R. and James, V.K. (2001) 'The behavioral basis of consumer choice : a preliminary analysis.', European journal of behavior analysis., 2 (2). pp. 209-220.
Techniques derived from behavioral economics and matching research are applied to consumers' brand and product choices in order to ascertain the extent to which methodologies employed in animal research elucidate human economic behavior. Patterns of matching, relative price—quantity demanded relationships, and maximization of return to amount spent were investigated for substitute and non-substitute brands and for products that were gross complements. Consumer choices were observed over several weeks and analysed in terms of weekly expenditures (FR schedules) and, where possible, 3- and 5-week (VR schedules). As predicted, substitute brands showed precise matching, downward-sloping relative demand curves and maximization. Non-substitutes also exhibited matching and maximization but had upward-sloping demand curves. The independent products showed some evidence of anti-matching as well as downward-sloping demand curves and maximization. The results are discussed in relation to the most appropriate techniques of data gathering and analysis for further investigation of consumer choice, and the probable underlying behavioral mechanism of choice revealed by the research.
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