The Karma of Consumption: Role of Materialism in the Pursuit of Life Satisfaction

Rajat Roy, Fazlul K. Rabbanee, Himadri Roy Chaudhuri , Preetha Menon

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Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to examine how social comparison (SC) and belief in karma (KA) encourage materialism (MAT) and promote consumers’ life satisfaction (LS).

Design/methodology/approach
Two studies were conducted with Indian middle class consumers to test the basic premises of the current research. The first one used a survey (N = 247), while the second one used an experimental design (N = 206).

Findings
The survey results showed that SC and belief in KA promoted MAT amongst Indian consumers and further enhanced their LS. Findings from the experiment revealed a novel two-way interaction, in that the KA–MAT relationship was moderated by the underlying motivation for MAT.

Research limitations/implications
Future research may validate and extend our findings using different samples to increase external validity.

Practical implications
By explaining the interactive effects of MAT, its underlying motivation and belief in KA, managers will gain a better understanding of why consumers in an emerging market like India purchase conspicuous products.

Originality/value
This is the first paper to study how the KA–MAT relationship influences LS amongst consumers in the world’s fastest-rising economy. Furthermore, no prior research has reported a boundary condition for the KA–MAT relationship studied here. The findings contribute to an extremely limited body of literature on KA and consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Early online date22 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Nov 2019

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