Exploring the effects of market scarcity on consumers’ demand for rarity in the wildlife trade
Hausmann, A., Cortés-Capano, G., & Di Minin, E. (2023). Exploring the effects of market scarcity on consumers’ demand for rarity in the wildlife trade. Global Ecology and Conservation, 48, Article e02744. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2023.e02744
Published inGlobal Ecology and Conservation
© 2023 the Authors
Consumers’ preferences for rarity in the wildlife trade can potentially lead to unsustainable exploitation of species in the wild, further increasing their desirability and price in the market as species become rarer. Understanding the processes underpinning the construction of preferences for rarity could help inform more effective conservation actions to help address unsustainable wildlife trade. In this study, we discuss how perceptions of market scarcity, and its interplay with species rarity, can influence the construction of value and consumers’ behaviours in the wildlife trade. First, we introduce the meanings of scarcity and its social construction as emerging from social practices within socio-economic framings, which can alter consumers’ perceptions and preferences. Then, by following theoretical insights from psychology and economics, we explore some of the processes through which market scarcity may affect perception of value, increasing desirability, prices, and stimulating purchasing intentions, in relation to different, yet intertwined, consumers’ goals and motivations. Desirability of rare species and products may be constructed and/or amplified by scarcity as consumers seek to i) purchase signs of social distinction, ii) conform with social norms and beliefs, iii) avoid future regrets, iv) preserve freedom of choice from bans and regulations. We then discuss the potential interplay between species rarity and market scarcity, how they may independently and synergically affect consumers’ preferences for wildlife, and some of the potential conservation implications. We finish by discussing some ways forward and how future research may contribute to understanding the social construction of scarcity and how it might affect demand in the wildlife trade. ...
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Related funder(s)Maj ja Tor Nessling Foundation
Additional information about fundingAll the authors thank the European Research Council (ERC) for funding under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement #802933). A.H. thanks the Mai and Tor Nessling Foundation (grant number 202200342). Open access funded by Helsinki University Library.
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