Political ideology and consumption decisions
: insights of a field experiment on conservatives’ and liberals’ choice preferences

  • Linda Johanna Marie Heilen (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Despite continuous polarisation along political party lines, it remains unclear how differences in political ideology impact the choices consumers make. This dissertation presents a field experiment performed to investigate the impact of political ideology on consumers’ behaviour, by examining the influence of traits associated with a conservative or liberal ideology on choice preferences. We hereby draw on the motivated social cognition theory, which establishes conservatism as a defence system against threats and on the ideology–social comparison link. Our analysis of the choice preferences of conservatives and liberals regarding luxurious and green products shows that political ideology indeed influences conservatives’ and liberals’ product choices and that these choices can be subconsciously affected by selected priming tasks. This research therefore emphasises the importance of political ideology for consumer behaviour and its implications on choice preferences by unveiling the predictive power of political tendencies.
Date of Award3 Nov 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorDaniel Fernandes (Supervisor)


  • Political ideology
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Priming
  • Conspicuous consumption


  • Mestrado em Gestão

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