Scarcity or mortality salience?
: the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and power in consumer behavior in Brazil

  • Bruna Carneiro Maia de Oliveira (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on people’s lives have changed consumer behavior,dramatically impacting economies around the world. Individual’s sense of ontological securityhas been disrupted due to such great health and economic threats, which have led consumers toadapt to a new reality where physical interactions are frowned upon according to the WorldHealth Organization (WHO) recommended safety and preventive measures. This dissertationintends to study the effects that the pandemic has on consumer behavior in Brazil, specificallyregarding perceptions of power, mortality, and financial scarcity. Seeking to enhance theunderstanding of how consumers respond to such stimulus, mortality salience and financialscarcity are manipulated and one’s sense of power is measured, allowing for an analysis on theirimpact over individuals facing threats originated or heightened by the pandemic. Additionally, Iinvestigate the concept of temporal discounting as a mediator to such factors. Finally, I evaluatethis effect by measuring both luxury consumption and saving for retirement intentions. Theresults of this study revealed no significant effect of mortality salience and financial scarcity onconsumers’ intention to save for the future nor for a preference towards luxury items. Regardingthe moderation of power, the results showed that mortality salience has a direct impact ontemporal discounting, in line with the literature, and confirmed power’s impact on luxuryconsumption, contrary to future-oriented behavior expected according to prior research. Power asa moderator did not have a significant relationship with education, income levels, temporaldiscounting, mortality salience, or financial scarcity.
Date of Award26 Jan 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorFilipa de Almeida (Supervisor)


  • Brazil
  • Consumer behavior
  • COVID-19
  • Financial instability
  • Luxury consumption
  • Mortality salience
  • Power
  • Resource scarcity


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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