Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 617–624 | Cite as

Bias and variability in purchase intention scales

  • Malcolm WrightEmail author
  • Murray MacRaeEmail author


Although purchase intention scales are widely used, relatively little is known about bias and variability in the estimated purchase proportions. Psychometric techniques have been developed to correct for such problems, and analytical approaches have shown that most predictive errors can be explained as probabilistic variability. However, there is a lack of systematic empirical work in the area. We address this problem using two meta-analyses of published work. Our results show that purchase intention scales are empirically unbiased. Furthermore, the variability is much less than previously assumed. This finding improves the confidence researchers can have in the use of such scales. Interestingly, purchase probability scales performed even better than purchase intention scales. The greater precision of probability scales suggests that they may be more useful both as direct measures of likely behavior and as dependent variables in consumer behavior research.


Stated purchase probability Purchase intention Meta-analysis Juster scale 



Thanks to the Academy of Business Research at Massey University for financial support, to Dr. Mike Brennan for assistance with the stated purchase probability literature, to Associate Professor Ron Garland, members of the Ehrenberg-Institute, Professor Pierre Chandon and the editor and three anonymous JAMS reviewers for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ehrenberg-Bass InstituteUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of MarketingMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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