Save Money and Support Democracy?
A recent edition of the Akron Beacon Journal ran an editorial from Cass Sunstein, Professor of Law at Harvard, that is well worth thinking about, personally and as educators with students who waste their scarce resources in ways that the analysis here might help prevent.
You can read the entire commentary at this link, and I hope this selection encourages you to do just that.
“At CVS, a 100-tablet package of store-brand aspirin costs you $1.99. Bayer aspirin is three times that much. Nonetheless, millions of people end up buying Bayer. When it comes to headache remedies, salt, sugar and hundreds of other important products, many people choose national brands even when a cheaper store brand is at hand. Why?”
A very good question.
“For the first time, we have solid answers, thanks to a study by Dutch economist Bart Bronnenberg of Tilburg University and three colleagues from the University of Chicago. They found a simple correlation: The more informed you are, the more likely you are to choose store brands. Pharmacists, for example, are especially likely to buy store brands of headache medicines. Chefs are far less inclined to select national brands of salt and sugar than are nonchefs who are otherwise demographically identical. In other words, national brands are succeeding largely because of consumer ignorance.”
“It’s interesting that health-care professionals show no special interest in buying store-brand salts, sugars or baking sodas; for those products, their choices look a lot like most other consumers’. And while chefs do show a preference for store-brand headache remedies, it’s not nearly as great as that of health-care professionals. For the most part, people’s knowledge is domain-specific.”