Subtle Signals of Inconspicuous Consumption

  title={Subtle Signals of Inconspicuous Consumption},
  author={Jonah A. Berger and Morgan K. Ward},
  journal={Macroeconomics: Consumption},
While theories of signaling and conspicuous consumption suggest that more explicit markers facilitate communication, this article examines the utility of subtle signals. Four studies demonstrate that while less explicit branding increases the likelihood of misidentification (e.g., observers confusing a high-end purchase for a cheaper alternative), people with more cultural capital in a particular domain prefer subtle signals because they provide differentiation from the mainstream. Such… 

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