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FAIRNESS PERCEPTIONS AND UTILITY MAXIMIZATION pp. 239-248 $100.00
Authors:  Irene Daskalopoulou, Dep. of Economics and Management, Univ. of Peloponnese, Greece
Abstract:
Available literature suggests that fairness perceptions underlie consumersí economic
transactions. Viewing economic transactions, as a social practice requires that the nonlinear
effects of consumersí judgments over the outcome they receive should be
incorporated into the theoretical and methodological models of analyzing consumersí
choices among alternative outcomes. Here a model is proposed regarding the
incorporation of fairness perceptions into consumersí choices among alternative
supermarket providers. Analysis is based on two assumptions. The first one relates to that
consumers patronize stores using their own evaluations of the price and service fairness
(overall fairness) that they expect to receive from each provider, as the underlying
mechanism of patronizing alternative stores. The second one relates to that threshold
levels of fairness exist and constitute the critical point at which a decision to transact with
a specific provider turns from negative to positive and thus a transaction is observed.
Based on these assumptions we formulate the hypothesis that utility maximizing
consumers might actually be viewed as consumers maximizing the utility deriving from a
patronizing process. Important implications arise from such a theorization. On the one
hand, an analytical context is proposed for incorporating incommensurable human values
and intangible constructs such as overall fairness perceptions into the methodological
tools of consumersí behavior analysis. On the other hand, a means is provided for
empirical research over consumersí expenditures to derive indirect, yet important,
information as regards the unobservable process of patronizing stores. Using the shares of
expenditures allocated to each provider as an approximation of the underlying transaction
pattern (patronization pattern), the efficiency of households in allocating overall
expenditures to different providers might be measured. Thus, observed deviations from
an efficient allocation might be taken to account for the material value that is subject to the non-linear effects caused by human values and constructs underlying individualsí
economic transactions. In addition, this material value is the sum of expenditures shares
weighted by the fairness ascribed to alternative prospective outcomes. 


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FAIRNESS PERCEPTIONS AND UTILITY MAXIMIZATION pp. 239-248