Inferring quality from price: the effect of stereotype threat on price–quality judgments

Lei Song, Rajneesh Suri, Yanliu Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper aims to examine how a stereotype threat, which entails being aware of a negative stereotype about one’s social group (e.g. gender), affects consumers’ price perceptions. Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted four studies to examine the effect of a stereotype threat on consumers’ perceptions of a product’s price–quality relationship. Findings: This study found that being aware of a negative stereotype about one’s social group (i.e. gender here) led consumers to use price more as a quality indicator. This study also determined that reappraisal – an alternative way of coping with stereotype threats – reduced the impact of a stereotype threat and, subsequently, decreased reliance on price to infer quality. Research limitations/implications: This research contributes to the consumer decision-making literature by examining stereotype threat effect in in-store product purchasing contexts; provides theoretical contributions to the processing of price information by exploring the role of a stereotype threat in price perceptions and revealing that impairment of consumers’ working memory resources affects price perceptions; adds to the existing stereotype threat literature by investigating the effect of a stereotype threat on systematic versus heuristic information processing; and advances the stress and coping literature by suggesting that consumers adopting a reappraisal strategy cope better with a stereotype threat than when opting for a suppression strategy. Practical implications: This research provides important implications for consumers. For example, the findings suggest that consumers who would like to avoid paying more for stereotype-associated products may adopt reappraisal to cope with a stereotype threat. Reappraisal may allow consumers to use fewer cognitive resources when coping with stereotype threats, thus minimizing the possibility that they might overpay for high-priced products. Originality/value: This research uniquely examines the effect of a stereotype threat on consumers’ price perceptions and the role of reappraisal in this effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1442-1466
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 5 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing

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