Fair price and its effect on willingness to purchase

Sarah Headly Maxwell, Florida International University


The purpose of the present research is to demonstrate the influence of a fair price (independent of the subjective evaluation of the price magnitude) on buyers' willingness to purchase. The perceived fairness of a price is conceived to have three components: perceived equity, perceived need, and inferred compliance of the seller to the process rules of pricing. These components reflect the Theories of Distributive Justice (as adjusted for conditions of need) and Procedural Justice. The effect of the three components of a fair price on willingness to purchase is depicted in a theoretically causal chain model. Based on the Theories of Dissonance and Attribution, conditions of inequity and need activate concerns for Procedural Justice. Under conditions of inequity and need, buyers tend to infer that the seller has not complied with the generally accepted pricing practices, thus violating the social norms of Procedural justice. Inferred violations of Procedural Justice influence the buyer's attitude toward the seller. As predicted by the Theory of Reasoned Action, attitude is then positively related to willingness to purchase. The model was tested with a survey-based experiment conducted with 408 respondents. Two levels of both equity and need were manipulated with scenarios, a common research method in studies of Distributive and Procedural Justice. The data were analyzed with a structural equation model using LISREL. Although the effect of the "need" manipulation was insignificant, the results indicated a good fit of the model (Chi-square = 281, Degrees of Freedom = 104, Goodness of Fit Index =.924). The conclusion is that the fairness of a price does have a significant effect on willingness to purchase, independent of the subjective evaluation of the objective price.

Subject Area

Business community|Marketing|Behaviorial sciences

Recommended Citation

Maxwell, Sarah Headly, "Fair price and its effect on willingness to purchase" (1997). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9724567.