Do liberals and conservatives shop differently?

I usually urge care in interpreting or even believing such results, but if you are game here is another entry into the sweepstakes:

In our research, conservatives tended to differentiate themselves through products that show that they are better than others – for example, by choosing products from high-status luxury brands. In contrast, liberals tended to differentiate themselves through products that show that they are unique from others – for example, by choosing products with unconventional designs or colors. These distinct preferences emerged across multiple studies in which U.S. participants (university students who completed surveys in the lab, adults who took surveys online, and members of a research panel) indicated their political ideology and made real or hypothetical choices between products.

In one study, participants chose between coffee mugs that would be customized with their names and the message “Just Better” or “Just Different.” Conservatives were 2.2 times more likely than liberals to choose the mug that signaled superiority (“Just Better”) over the one that signaled uniqueness (“Just Different”). In another study, participants could win a gift card from one of two brands as a reward for participation — Ralph Lauren, which based on our numerous pretests of consumers’ brand perceptions generally signals superiority, and Urban Outfitters, which based on our pretests generally signals uniqueness. Conservatives tended to prefer Ralph Lauren, whereas liberals tended to prefer Urban Outfitters.

That is from Nailya Ordabayeva.


Have my tax dollars really subsidized this research?

What are you talking about? This landmark study confirms my long held belief that I am really a conservative in a liberal's body. How else can we reconcile my reluctance to support wealth redistribution with the fact that I purchased a strange coffee mug just last week? #transpolitical

Authors from Catholic University of Portugal, Boston College, and reported in the Harvard Business Review

"Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Journal of Consumer Research, Inc."

Where are your tax dollars in there?

She got a grant from the Dutch government, so

Highgamma is Dutch
Or believes Trump that all other nations are ripping off Americans by selling goods too cheap
Or believes all money earned always belongs to the US government and only Congress gets to decide how it's spent

Leftists choose experiments that are intended to make them look better whereas conservatives don’t perform junk science.

Underrated comment.

??? Conservatives INVENTED junk science. Creationism?

Modern Conservatism came after Creationism. Back in the old days "Creationism" was the new, liberal idea.

Creationism isn't science. It's theology

Conservatives do engineering.

Liberals do science.

Academic scientists are liberal, industrial scientist are conservative.

"Academic scientists are liberal, industrial scientist are conservative."

+1, good comment.

Conservative self-loathing on display there. Choosing products that signal you are unique versus choosing products that signal you opt for choosing products that are better? I don't see how the first option 'looks better' by default.

Everyone trying to look unique by choosing niche 'artisanal' brands of everyday stuff (toast, coffee, ketchup, napkins, socks, etc.) gets really silly really fast. Liberals are quite comfortable with this 'flaw' being pointed out and mocked a bit (see Brian the dog on Family Guy for example). A non-self hating conservative would be fine with being seen as the type of guy who, say, when he buys a car buys the best car he can afford and that's that rather than say a 40 foot high car powered by a waterfall and made out of reclaimed bamboo and hemp.

So conservatives buy high quality merchandise while liberals try to stand out by buying something no one else would?

Hence the two main parties in America.

The research did not say "high-quality," it said "high status," which would explain wing nuts buying dumb, overpriced shit like Ralph Lauren shirts and Donald Trump steaks (yes some morons would unbelievably interpret a steak branded by a wanna be billionaire as a high status).

Ralph Lauren does make better stuff according to the (often liberal) ladies in my life.

Trump steaks as "high status", or as a "OMGhowrandom, and different! Must buy.".... I'd have guessed the latter.

Who could seriously interpret the mug with the "just better" as actually "indicating superiority"? Clearly anyone choosing it and using it would do so as a self-deprecating joke or roast. Meanwhile, "just different" seems genuinely self-righteous and self-congratulatory.

Oh, and the Ralph Lauren / Urban Outfitters things, lmao. This doesn't require much theoretical interpretation.

I am the world's best mom, and I have the coffee mug to prove it. The fact that I'm a childless male is irrelevant.

And when I was in my mid-twenties, I was the World's Best Grandpa, according to my shirt.

Yeah, well, my coffee mug says, "Trust me, I'm a lawyer."

Of course that's not true. Have you heard the inaccurate superlatives that come out of Trump's mouth referring to himself? They believe it.

Between smelling your own farts and #resisting, how do you find the time?

So conservatives think they are better. No wonder they are so smug. Liberals think they are so different. No wonder they are so into their identities. What about Libertarians? And who buys all the cheap Chinese stuff? What tribe do they belong to?

Regular poor and middle class people buy the cheap stuff. People who identify as "conservative" or "liberal" these days are neither of those things, they're just a bunch of smug, corporate elites. Really, Ralph Lauren? Urban Outfitters? These aren't things that middle class people buy when they are worried about paying off loans, worried about health care, and all the other things that make up their day to day.

I stand in awe of the mental contortions routinely performed by many people in order to believe that a mass-market clothing brand can somehow signal uniqueness.

and the only high-status luxury in Ralph Lauren is women dresses. The rest is mass-market clothing brand. A $10 gift card for a 3K+ dress hahaha

Um... no.

But what brand or mug do I buy to signal my libertarianism?? C'mon Tyler, a little news we can use please!

A true libertarian would say "hodling bitcoins for lambo" =)

1. The mug that says "Just a mug"
2. The mug that says "Just the most efficient mug for the money"
3. The mug that says "Just produced by child sweatshop labor in Bangladesh"

Take your pick.

I sometimes see “Reason” caps and hats and tee shirts. (Reason as in the blog and website.)

Drew Carey once drank out of a Reason mug on his old tv show.

Tyler, why do you bother with things like this? This is like Cosmo/Buzzfeed worthy stuff. What's next? Learn which pizza toppings conservatives like or what brand of beer liberals like?

The sad thing is that Facebook probably does know

Seems highly plausible.

The Stuff White People Like website had lots of this kind of analysis a decade ago, although the brand names are likely out of date by now.

So the conservatives picked the mug that said "Just ICE" that signaled border security, and the liberals picked the mug that said "Just In-Timberlake" that signaled they were in-sync (part of the collective)?

Of course, brands aim for the Holy Grail which is to be perceived as better and different at the same time.

Very few firms achieve it: Apple comes to mind. Apple products are used by both conservatives that want to sign superiority and by liberals that want to sign difference and originality. :-)

Isn't that the other way round?

I believe you're right, clockwork. If a con buys Apple, he wants to say, "See, I'm not so stuffy." A lib wants to say, "My hunk of plastic and electronics is better than yours."

Also "I'm a rebel against the tyranny of the evil corporation Microsoft and their oppressive operating system monopoly. FREEDOM!!!"

Liberarians (real libertarians) use Linux.

I though Libertarians used whatever's better for the task? This is why my PC is Windows based, my phone iOS and my troubleshooting USB drive has Ubuntu on it.

Advertisers at one time used the term "discriminating" to appeal to conservatives, such as those with "discriminating tastes". I thought that an odd word to use, since it is a loaded word. Were advertisers intentionally appealing to bigots? Will Trump supporters start wearing clothes with "I really don't care. Do you?" emblazoned on them? It would be more appropriate for them to write "I could care less" because it would reveal both their bigotry and their ignorance. Did Rene Girard purchase merchandise to signal he was better or unique?

I don't think "discriminating" is meant to signal racial prejudice, but rather general snobbery. A discriminating person turns up their noses at all sorts of things.

Maybe not even snobbery. More like interested in finer things.

You can read it either way, depending on whether you think "finer things" are worth spending money on or just status goods. IMO, mostly they are status goods.

Discrimination is kind of central to thinking. Or do you prefer to be thought of as indiscriminate?

Was Melania Trump trolling Trump supporters or Trump critics? Considering the daily humiliation she suffers for being Donald Trump's wife, I suspect she was trolling the supporters (and her husband). But they wouldn't know it. Who knew that Melania is an admirer of Leo Strauss. Did Cowen loan her the jacket?

I think that coat has to represent the weirdest presidential moment in my life.

I'm not going to put a "true" meaning to it, but I am in awe of the Monumental Strangeness of the period in which we now live.

I think there are scientific explanations for differences between conservatives and liberals.

Recently, a cousin had one completed one of those commercial DNA analyses. It reported a degree of Neanderthal DNA. I told my wife it was from his ancestors not related to me.

I looked it up. Modern humans generally have 20% Neanderthal DNA. Not liberals. They have nearly 98% Neanderthal DNA.

Ha! Take THAT liberals! Had enough yet?

Dick, Get help for your condition. You have no scientific support for your claim.

I don't think I'm buying this as a general rule. I think very few of the urban women who obsess over expensive designer handbags and shoes are conservative. The same goes for luxury-brand obsessed rappers and their fans

The researchers didn't ask me. I'm so conservative. I don't buy anything.

The most recent purchase (forced by the wife) was a dining room set. Prior was June 2017, when we bought a new Subaru Crostrek. We don't have on it a "Hillary" sticker. It would be redundant. I have an NRA sticker on it.

Have an NRA sticker on the Prius. Gets a lot of long looks at the pistol range I go to.

Check +

NRA sticker on a Prius? Sounds like a stereotypical Austin TX resident? :)

My laptop has Debian GNU/Linux and Trump-Pence stickers on it. Routinely causes double takes.

Why? Eric S. Raymond's political beliefs are not exactly obscure in such circles.

Debian developers tend to be more Anarchist than Libertarian in my experience. (I wouldn’t call myself a Libertarian either.)

A harrowing account of a house divided against itself!!

Soon the contradictions of the American regimr will tear the country apart in an orgy of blood and terror, as a demoralized populayion attacks itself, and rivers of blood drawn from brothers murdering brothers and sisters murdering sisters will deluge the streets of this modern Gomorrah! As the Prophet Bandarra has foretold, the great beast will be slain and the lion will rise up and crush the serpent with its heel.

Sounds about right.

Ownership of a particular marque of automobile is generally a reliable indicator of political affiliation. Prius drivers, for instance, are likely on the left side of the parking lot. Monthly payments on crew cab diesel 4x4 pickups are made by right wing guys with visible skull tattoos.

I know plenty of women driving 4x4 crew cabs pulling horse trailers whose husbands are quite liberal (and some who are conservative with no visible tats.

But you live in a gated community with a polo field, stables and a day care workforce from Uruguay.

Liberals are hedonistic while conservatives are utilitarian.

How Brooks Brothers has fallen!

consumer groupings are the only acceptable identities in the modern world.

The study is confounded because Urban Outfitters are known for making high quality skinny jeans and Liberal men are well known to wear these, presumably to demonstrate their effeminate nature.

The "political science" tag is misleading. When clicking on the link I was surprised to find it was a marketing study. Knowing that, it makes a little more sense as to why the study was conducted - marketers want to know the answers to questions like how and to whom products should be marketed.

Urban Outfiters is unique?

Liberals shop for products that signal they are better in other ways. The Prius is a prime example. It was basically a market unto itself. No other hybrid ever sold as well until Prius buyers shifted to electrics.

I think liberals tend to shop brands that signal moral superiority, though. So I'm not sure it is just about "superiority vs. uniqueness".
It's more about wealth and class status signalling vs. moral signalling.
Conservatives value traditional status goods which signal adherence to older norms. Liberals purchase status good which signal adherence to new norms. In other words, conservatives are conservative, and liberals are liberal.

Pretty much.

+1, good comment

I am waiting for the research showing that


Of Illegal Immigrants

Are Republican and have a coffee cup that says

Just Better.

Well, I can’t wait for research that shows progressives want open borders and have mugs that say “I promote an endless supply of migrants AND a GAI (guaranteed annual income)!”

They don't but you can go ahead and think so.

Branding and imitation. If you were lower on the economic ladder who would you prefer, hippie/hipster Democrats or country club Republicans?

The clothes we wear in the cars we drive are the most direct and true forms of signaling there are.

Everybody is signaling something, and while it might be true that there is a political correlation, I think it has to be much more varied and wild than that.

(I stubbornly counter-signal even when I should not. I have a 20 year old Coleman, not a Yeti.)

That's the consistent with the broad picture of the role of authority in the worldview of liberals and conservatives and how that affects status competition. By that argument, conservatives are uncomfortable ignoring or reinventing hierarchy, so they get products that show where they are in existing hierarchies. Liberals try to escape the game by inventing a new hierarchy and putting themselves at the top ("I"m the best at being me".)

Lesson: Conservatives have no taste. Liberals do.

True. Conservatives tend to go for ostentatious displays of wealth and/or kitsch. Liberals try not to show off money as much, and in general tend to be more in touch with cutting edge art and culture. Although to be fair lower class black culture tends toward ostentatious displays of wealth as well, (i.e. "bling"). But that may be because black culture tends to celebrate when black people get rich instead of implying that they are evil. (Rap is capitalist). And status goods tend to be of outsized importance to poor people for some reason. People who start out higher on the economic ladder tend to be a little more restrained in their tastes. Unless they are Donald Trump - but that's part of his formula - show off the bling the way the poor white folk dream of.

The only conservative with taste was Maurice Minnifield, the fictional former-astronaut character, on the TV show Northern Exposure.

hip-hop/rap: plenty that has no taste and is throw away.
Not Kendrick Lamar. Either his TPAB or Damn albums are the best thing in popular music since Radiohead's, Kid A or OK Comp.

Notably, in music, no sign of Nickelback or Nugent in the musical taste department. Where ZZ Top fits? Tasty blues rock--until needing to make more than a buck.

Lee Greenwood and Kenny G, some of the favs of conservatives.

Hah! This proves conclusively that liberals are better than conservatives.

"...Ralph Lauren, which based on our numerous pretests of consumers’ brand perceptions generally signals superiority, and Urban Outfitters, which based on our pretests generally signals uniqueness..."

Did they control for geographic location of conservative/liberal populations with relation to Ralph Lauren/Urban Outfitters stores? I honestly don't know where a Ralph Lauren store is, so I would pick Urban Outfitters because I know where it is at the mall. Politics has nothing to do with it. Just laziness.

Coffee mugs are not for buying. Coffee mugs are for receiving as presents.

I got my degree from Trump University. I drink Trump Ice with my well done Trump steaks. Am I a unique snowflake too?

The dimwitted troll strikes again!

Should have offered a black cup option. Being conservative side of libertarian, I would have cringed at both, but taken just better because at least I can laugh it off as joking. Just different would be hard to disown. I guess liberals are more likely to care enough to need to signal that they are unique. Stands to reason - it's a defining feature of hipsters, who are almost all liberal.

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