Special issue explores consumer access and power

April 09, 2020

Journal of Public Policy & Marketing has dedicated the second issue of its 2020 volume to better understanding and defining the uniquely related concepts of consumer power and consumer access. The guest editors and articles authors show how both concepts are in a constant state of change. They are influenced by technology, wealth, industry organization, and public policy.

Questions of access and power are particularly relevant in the context of today's United States with consumers simultaneously isolated and connected in ways never before imagined. Many of the articles in this issue offer prophetic insights though they were written well before and accepted only in the very early stages of the COVID-19 world health crisis.

"Denial Without Determination: The Impact of Systemic Market Access Denial on Consumer Power and Market Engagement"

Consumers may have access to a product or service, but that does not mean the consumer has the power to make ownership and usage a reality. Even when intervention levels the playing field, it still may take multiple purchase cycles before some consumers may attempt to take advantage of the new opportunities.


"Access Granted? An Examination of Financial Capability, Trait Hope, Perceived Access, and Food Insecurity in Distressed Census Tracts"

Interestingly increasing a belief in hope is an effective way to improve the perception of access to adequate food sources among residents of food deserts. The authors suggest communication strategies that encourage this trait and improve the effectiveness of food and nutrition assistance programs.


"The Effect of Consumers' Perceived Power and Risk in Digital Information Privacy: The Example of Cookie Notices"

Despite recent regulation (i.e., the GDPR), the design of cookie notices varies strongly in practice, with many websites providing cookie notices with low visibility and no or very limited choice. These most common designs are likely to increase consumers' risk perception, which reduces their purchase intent; website providers might, in contrast, benefit from offering consumers more choice over their private data.


"Service Captivity: No Choice, No Voice, No Power"

This examination of "service captivity" offers insights into how consumers may feel trapped in a scenario where they can't exit a service relationship. The authors offer examples of how these consumers may gain access to new service providers.


"Sound and Fury: Digital Vigilantism as a Form of Consumer Voice"

Via a pool of over 70,000 tweets associated with the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, the authors categorize tweets into five categories and offer a perspective on how digital vigilantism was represented.


"Sense of Power: Policy Insights for Encouraging Consumers' Healthy Food Choice"

Incorporating simple messages such as, "you are powerful" or "we all feel powerful sometimes" is enough to increase a consumer's sense of power and subsequently nudge them to make healthier food choices, particularly for consumers lower in socioeconomic status.


"Children and Online Privacy Protection: Empowerment from Cognitive Defense Strategies"

Children and teens were already spending a growing amount of time online, but in the last several weeks, this seems to have increased even more. The authors investigate methods for improving safety beliefs and decisions to share personal videos on YouTube suggesting a combination of education and parental intervention empowers children and teens to protect their personal information online.


"When Does the Social Service Ecosystem Meet Consumption Needs? A Power-Justice-Access Model of Holistic Well-Being from Recipients' Perspectives"

Research suggestions that respect is another dimension of consumer access and power. They show the fallacy of scorning low-income individuals' access to "luxuries," such as Starbucks coffee, and the importance of going beyond simple access and power and include the level of perceived justice (e.g., respect).


"Consumer-Level Perceived Access to Health Services and Its Effects on Vulnerability and Health Outcomes"

Policymakers, health care organizations, and insurance providers can use perceived access to healthcare measure to better identify communities or populations that lack access, design programs and systems that reduce perceptions of health vulnerability in target populations, and ultimately improve consumers' health outcomes.

This special issue was organized by a team that included M. Paula Fitzgerald, West Virginia University; Sterling A. Bone, Utah State University; and Janis K. Pappalardo, Federal Trade Commission. The views of Janis K. Pappalardo are her own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Federal Trade Commission or any individual Commissioner.

Full issue and individual author contact information is available at https://journals.sagepub.com/toc/ppoa/39/2

About the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing

The Journal of Public Policy & Marketing is a forum for understanding the nexus of marketing and public policy, with each issue featuring a wide-range of topics, including, but not limited to, ecology, ethics and social responsibility, nutrition and health, regulation and deregulation, security and privacy.


About the American Marketing Association (AMA)

As the largest chapter-based marketing association in the world, the AMA is trusted by marketing and sales professionals to help them discover what's coming next in the industry. The AMA has a community of local chapters in more than 70 cities and 350 college campuses throughout North America. The AMA is home to award-winning content, PCM® professional certification, premiere academic journals, and industry-leading training events and conferences.


American Marketing Association

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