, Volume 95, Issue 4, pp 527-541
Date: 14 Feb 2010

Fair Trade Consumption: In Support of the Out-Group

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Abstract

Two sets of self-transcendence values – universalism and benevolence – act as a source of motivation for the promotion of the welfare of the other rather than the self. This article sought to determine the exact nature of the interaction between these sets of values and the consumption of fair trade products. In an earlier study, universalism values were found to have a significant influence on fair trade consumption whereas benevolence values did not, despite their shared goal and values theory. Additionally, there was supporting evidence in the extant literature that benevolence values should influence fair trade consumption behavior. This study took a closer look at the individual values that make up the value categories universalism and benevolence to better understand and describe this universalism–benevolence distinction in fair trade consumption. It was established that perhaps group membership has an influence on the decision to buy fair trade products. Specifically, it seems that an overriding sense of responsibility to one’s own group – the in-group – prevents some consumers from identifying with, empathizing with, and subsequently sharing resources with fair trade producers; members of out-groups in far-flung corners of the globe. It appears that the universalism–benevolence distinction in fair trade consumption might also be described as an in-group–out-group distinction.