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01-09-2012 | Issue 3/2012

Marketing Letters 3/2012

The timing and context of consumer decisions

Insights from the life course paradigm

Journal:
Marketing Letters > Issue 3/2012
Authors:
Euehun Lee, Anil Mathur, Choong Kwai Fatt, George P. Moschis

Abstract

Researchers have long recognized the importance of studying consumption activities over time, but they have had inadequate theories and methods for studying consumers over the course of their lives. This paper suggests that the life course paradigm that has been widely used in social sciences could be employed to overcome some limitations of previous consumer research. To illustrate its application, two consumption activities are used—one first-time and another repeat choice. Hypotheses are developed based on the most popular life course theoretical perspectives, and data from a national longitudinal study are used to test them. The results show that consumers are influenced by prior life experiences and future expectations, and they suggest the value of studying consumer behavior in time and context using the life course paradigm. Finally, the paper discusses implications for theory development and future research using this innovative approach.

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