I Paid More than You (Before)?! The Effects of Self-Construal and Comparison Target on Price Unfairness Perceptions

  • Wenjing Dou
  • Wei Lu
  • Dian Wang
  • Brady Hodges
  • Haipeng (Allan) ChenEmail author
Research Article


Previous research suggests that when consumers encounter discrepant prices due to dynamic pricing, a social comparison evokes stronger unfairness perceptions than a temporal comparison does. In this paper, the authors show how this effect may vary depending on consumers’ self-construal. Two experiments find that while independent consumers perceive stronger price unfairness when paying more than other consumers, interdependent consumers perceive stronger price unfairness when paying more than what they did in the past. These effects occur because consumers are differentially sensitive, as a function of their self-construal, to social versus temporal comparisons in their self-appraisal. Our results show that self-construal affects consumers’ means for maintaining their self-appraisal and alters the relevance of different comparison targets in price unfairness perceptions.


Price unfairness Self-construal Social comparison Temporal comparison Self-appraisal 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BOCI Research LimitedShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Antai College of Economics and ManagementShanghai Jiaotong UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.College of BusinessUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  4. 4.Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of BusinessUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  5. 5.Gatton College of Business and EconomicsUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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