Warm glow or cold, hard cash? Social identify effects on consumer choice for donation versus discount promotions

Karen Page Winterich, Michael J. Barone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Across five studies, the authors investigate how social identification influences consumer preference for discount-based promotions (i.e., cents-off deals) versus donation-based promotions (in which purchase results in a donation to a charitable cause). In doing so, they demonstrate the interplay between self-construal and a specific social identity (i.e., that associated with the particular charity featured in a donation-based promotion) on consumers' preferences for these two types of promotions. The results show that, in general, consumers possessing interdependent self-construals prefer donations to a greater extent than those with independent self-construals. However, the findings further indicate that these effects of self-construal are attenuated if (1) the donation-based promotion does not involve a charity that is identity congruent or (2) a cause-congruent identity is more salient than self-construal at the time of decision making. The authors also identify boundary conditions of charity efficiency and product type for these self-construal effects. In addition to demonstrating how multiple identities interact to influence consumer promotion preferences, the authors discuss important managerial implications regarding the use of discount versus donation-based promotions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)855-868
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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