When Consumption Regulations Backfire: The Role of Political Ideology

Caglar Irmak, Mitchel R. Murdock, Vamsi K. Kanuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The authors investigate the role of political ideology in consumer reactions to consumption regulations. First, they demonstrate via a natural experiment that conservatives (but not liberals) increase usage of mobile phones in cars after a law was enacted prohibiting that activity (Study 1). Then, through three lab experiments the authors illustrate that after consumers are exposed to consumption regulations from the government (e.g., laws that restrict consumption, warning labels designed by the Food and Drug Administration), conservatives (vs. liberals) are more likely to (1) use phones when restricted (Study 2), (2) purchase unhealthy foods (Study 3), and (3) view smoking e-cigarettes more favorably (Study 4). No such effects are observed when a nongovernment source is used, or when the message from the government is framed as a notification (vs. warning). These findings point to the important roles of political ideology and the message source in increasing reactance to consumption regulations, thereby mitigating the effectiveness of public policy initiatives undertaken by the government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)966-984
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • consumer welfare
  • government regulation
  • political ideology
  • public policy
  • reactance
  • warning messages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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