Call for Papers: Scarcity : Consumer, Firm, and Societal Dimensions and Perspectives
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Edited by Russell W. Belk (York University), Gopal Das (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore), Shailendra Pratap Jain (University of Washington), and Meng Zhu (Johns Hopkins University)
Introduction and background
“Scarcity originates from an imbalance between demand and supply, leading to shortages and competition for resources” (Kristofferson et al. 2017, p. 684). The experience of scarcity is a prevalent facet of human life (Booth 1984; Xenos 2017) and we often encounter perceptions or experiences of scarcity. Although basic research on scarcity has emphasized events such as periods of drought, famine (Chakravarthy and Booth 2004), and economic recessions
(Griskevicius et al. 2013), scarcity is also manipulated in resource-rich environments (e.g.,
limited edition products: Gierl and Huettl 2010). As such, scarcity has attracted the attention of researchers from several disciplines, including marketing (Zhu and Ratner, 2015). Prior research has shown that firms use scarcity strategies throughout the year to influence various metrics (Balachander and Stock 2009) as well as other marketing decisions like pricing and shelf space management (Monroe and Zoltners 1979; Suri, Kohli, and Monroe 2007; Parker and Lehmann
2015). For example, firms like Amazon and Bradford Mint use scarcity cues like “limited edition” and “only a few left” to enhance sales. In the travel industry, airlines frequently use scarcity cues such as “only X tickets left at this price” to enhance sales. Even digital goods like Topps sports cards have found ways to make their goods rare and valuable (Marden and Belk 2018). Other possible objects of scarcity include time, space, status, children, and money.
Perceptions of scarcity are necessary to exercise power (e.g., you can have your gas canister when I say you can) and to justify the high prices of luxury goods (e.g., 3 million dollar Bugatti automobiles). Appointments to see certain officials are also artificially controlled, such as rationing of food and certain materials during wartime. This gets to be a potential problem with digital goods which cost very little to produce but are limited in various ways (Marden and Belk
2018). Sharing is another way to overcome scarcity and high prices -- access rather than owning (Belk 2014). Despite the popularity of scarcity cues in practice, and the recent surge in research interest (Hamilton et al. 2019), the marketing and societal implications of scarcity remains understudied. This special issue aims to investigate the independent and interdependent interplay of firm, consumers, and society within and stemming from scarcity contexts. The outcomes of this special issue will advance scarcity, consumer behavior, and marketing strategy literatures, and help marketers, policymakers, and society at large in better understanding scarcity and its effects.
This special issue aims to showcase high-quality, high-impact scholarship that investigates the impact of scarcity on multiple topics. Empirical, conceptual, and methodological papers, including meta-analyses, are welcome, though all contributions should advance theory and/or address a real-world challenge. Theoretical as well as empirical submissions are invited from all domains – marketing strategy, analytical/empirical modeling, consumer behavior, decision theory, CSR, and
related domains. The following topics represent a range of potential ideas, issues, and concepts.
They are not comprehensive, and we welcome authors to contact the guest editors to discuss the appropriateness of other topics related to the theme of this special issue.
• How does scarcity influence value through and independent of product and price perception?
• How do emergent technologies facilitate/impede scarcity perception, including scarcity of digital goods?
• What are the similarities, differences, and overlaps between consumer-driven vs. market-driven scarcity?
• Does scarcity promote sharing? If so, what type, to what extent, and how?
• What is the impact of scarcity of products vs. resources on consumer decision journey?
• How does scarcity motivate consumers? How do consumers react to scarcity cues
(e.g. limited edition)? How do customers react to real vs. manufactured scarcities?
• Does extending a luxury product line to include lower price points (and thereby reducing scarcity of the brand) damage the reputation of the higher priced products in the line?
• What is the relationship between scarcity, consumer emotions, self, and self- esteem? How to consumers cope with scarcity?
• What might be the positive vs. negative aspects of scarcity promotions?
• What are ethical implications and consequences of scarcity?
• How do real and artificial scarcity affect societal and consumer well-being?
• What are the CSR implications of scarcity, particularly when the firm is economically justified in creating artificial scarcity?
• What are the implications of imposed scarcity like the one-child policy that effected a generation in China?
Submission Guidelines and Deadlines
When preparing your submission, please check the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science website for style and length guidelines: https://www.springer.com/journal/11747. Manuscripts for review should be submitted to the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science editorial system, at: www.edmgr.com/jams. PLEASE SELECT ARTICLE TYPE SI: SCARCITY WHEN SUBMITTING PAPERS. Papers will undergo a conventional review process; however, in
their submission cover letters, authors should indicate that they intend for their papers to be
considered for this Special Issue.
Submissions Open: February 1, 2021
Submissions Deadline: March 31, 2021
Booth, A. (1984). Responses to Scarcity. Sociological Quarterly, 25, 113–124.
Balachander, S. & Stock, A. (2009). Limited Edition Products: When and When Not to Offer
Them. Marketing Science, 28(2), 336–355.
Belk, R. (2014). You are what you can access: Sharing and collaborative consumption online. Journal of Business Research, 67(8), 1595-1600.
Chakravarthy, M.V., & Booth, F.W. (2004). Eating, Exercise, and ‘thrifty’ Genotypes: Connecting the Dots toward an Evolutionary Understanding of Modern Chronic Diseases. Journal of Applied Physiology, 96(1), 3–10.
Griskevicius, V., Ackerman, J.M., Cantú, S.M., Delton, A.W., Robertson, T.E., Simpson, J.A., Thompson, M.E., & Tybur, J.M. (2013). When the Economy Falters, Do People Spend or Save? Responses to Resource Scarcity Depend on Childhood Environments. Psychological Science,
Gierl, H. & Huettl, V. (2010). Are scarce products always more attractive? The interaction of different types of scarcity signals with products' suitability for conspicuous consumption. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 27(3), 225-235.
Kristofferson, K., McFerran, B. Morales, A.C. & Dahl, D.W. (2017). The Dark Side of Scarcity Promotions: How Exposure to Limited-Quantity Promotions Can Induce Aggression. Journal of Consumer Research, 43(5), 683–706.
Hamilton, R., Thompson, D., Bone, S., Chaplin, L.N., Griskevicius, V., Goldsmith, K., Hill, R., Roedder John, D., Mittal, C., O’Guinn, T., Piff, P., Roux, C., Shah, A., & Zhu, M. (2019). The effects of scarcity on consumer decision journeys. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 47(3), 532–550.
Marden, R., & Belk, R. (2018). Materializing digital collecting: An extended view of digital
Materiality. Marketing Theory, https://doi.org/10.1177/1470593118767725.
Monroe, K.B., & Zoltners, A.A. (1979). Pricing the Product Line during Periods of Scarcity.
Journal of Marketing, 43(Summer), 49–59.
Parker, J.R., & Lehmann, D.R. (2011). When Shelf-Based Scarcity Impacts Consumer
Preferences. Journal of Retailing, 87(2), 142–155.
Suri, R., Kohli, C., & Monroe, K.B. (2007). The effects of perceived scarcity on consumers’
processing of price information. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 35(1), 89–100. Xenos, N. (2017). Scarcity and modernity. New York: Routledge.
Zhu, M. & Ratner, R. (2015). Scarcity Polarizes Preferences: The Impact on Choice Among
Multiple Items in a Product Class. Journal of Marketing Research, 52(1), 13–26.