Political Conservatism and Fair Trade : Conceptual and Empirical Investigations

Usslepp, Thomas and Hogg, Margaret and Awanis, Sandra (2022) Political Conservatism and Fair Trade : Conceptual and Empirical Investigations. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

[thumbnail of 2022UssleppPhD]
Text (2022UssleppPhD)
2022UssleppPhD.pdf - Published Version

Download (2MB)


The concept of fair trade has been investigated by marketing researchers over the past few years. The literature has described fair trade as a political phenomenon. Examining what the politicisation of the fair trade market means for consumers requires, however, the application of a more specific theoretical lens. Political ideology offers such a theoretical lens that allows us to understand how politically charged fair trade marketing resonates with consumers’ political beliefs. Political ideology ranges from political liberalism to political conservatism. This thesis focuses on political conservatism due to its potential inhibitory effect on the willingness to buy fair trade products. The thesis is made up of conceptual and empirical works and comprises three articles. The foundational first article addresses the limited structure of the goals of political conservatism as described in the literature. Applying a goal systemic perspective to political conservatism, article 1 conceptualises a superordinate goal (i.e., securing the in-group advantageous status quo), two intermediate goals (i.e., resistance to change and endorsement of inequality), and five subordinate goals (i.e., conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, dominance, and anti-egalitarianism). Having conceptualized the goal pursuit of conservatives, article 2 moves on to applying the findings of article 1 in that article 2 examines the relationship between conservative goals and their effect on the willingness to buy fair trade goods. The results reported in article 2 demonstrate a contradiction between the conservatives’ goal pursuit and fair trade consumption. The findings of article 2 suggests that fair trade perspective-taking and fair trade identity are two psychological features of politically conservative consumers that reduce their appetite for fair trade products. Additionally, I found age and income to moderate the effect of conservatism on fair trade perspective-taking. The third article then developed and tested marketing interventions that potentially diminish the inhibitory effect of political conservatism on fair trade consumption. The results in article 3 show that conservative consumers are more willing to consume fair trade products when they are exposed to appeals utilising status rather than altruism, because status appeals can be processed with more fluency. Taken together, this thesis contributes to the literature in that it sheds a new light on the various goals of political conservatism and how these goals resonate with the appeals of fair trade products. Additionally, this thesis offers managerial advice on how to target the segment of conservative consumers (article 2) and on which marketing interventions to use for the promotion of fair trade products to conservative consumers (article 3).

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
?? political conservatismfair trade ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
24 Feb 2022 09:30
Last Modified:
26 Feb 2024 00:17