The Effect of Attribute Qualities on Consumer Decision Making: A Causal Model of External Information Search


Marketing and Professional Sales

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Several distinctive characteristics of the way in which information is produced and disseminated suggest that simple marginal benefit/marginal cost models may be inadequate to explain decisions that consumers make about how much and what type of information to search. The concepts of search, experience and credence qualities are employed as a conceptual framework that permits prevailing models of consumer information search to accommodate the unique economic qualities of the market for information. Results suggest that there is empirical support for the presence of search, experience and credence qualities among the attributes of a complex service, that attribute qualities are differentially related to information search, and that search, experience and credence qualities moderate the relationship between search antecedents and external information search.