Scarcity Applications for Consumer Psychology: Increasing Pro-Social and Healthy Behaviour

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This thesis builds upon different scarcity streams in consumer psychology literature to promote healthier and prosocial habits, such as waste reduction and future optimism. Across 18 experiments, this research uncovers the importance of scarcity investigation in other to improve consumers' decisions. First, it sheds light on how controlling scarcity with different mindsets can prompt future orientation. Specifically, we posit that the difficulty in regulating scarcity makes people focus on resource deprivation causing scarcity myopia. Results establish that scarcity immutability (low vs. high), based on the human possibility to change deprivation with their own effort, prompts consumers to have constructive future-mindedness (i.e., future temporal focus). Findings from chapters 1 and 4 emphasize the importance of looking ahead to revoke scarcity myopia, which has several positive outcomes, such as a more optimistic focus, the motivation to pursue other goals, and less short-sighted consumption decisions. Further, in chapter 2, several experiments (i.e., online, eyetracking, and field experiments) show the importance of abstract thinking to revoke the food aesthetics bias and contribute to reducing food waste of low aesthetics products. Following the importance of understanding resource scarcity for sustainability matters, we further show which identity self-signals influences consumers' perceptions towards slow fashion. Taken together, the findings have critical implications for researchers, managers, and public policymakers on how to mitigate resource scarcity and how to deal with different scarcity mindsets.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS)
  • Pinto, Diego Costa, Supervisor
Award date28 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2022


  • scarcity applications
  • applications
  • consumer
  • psychology
  • increasing
  • pro-social behaviour
  • healthy behaviour


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