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The egalitarian value of counterfeit goods: Purchasing counterfeit luxury goods to address income inequality

Liu, J. J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6224-0216, Wakeman, S. W. & Norton, M. I. (2024). The egalitarian value of counterfeit goods: Purchasing counterfeit luxury goods to address income inequality. Journal of Consumer Psychology, doi: 10.1002/jcpy.1431


The present research demonstrates a novel driver of the growing demand for counterfeit luxury goods: perceptions of income inequality. Across five studies, using different samples and counterfeit luxury goods, we find that as perceptions of income inequality increase, consumers value counterfeit luxury products for their “egalitarian value”—a value associated with counterfeits' perceived ability to restore equality in society. Consumers perceive both public and private counterfeit luxury goods to have egalitarian value, suggesting that their value manifests itself beyond consumers' attempts to signal status via consumption. Moreover, the egalitarian value increases consumers' motivation to purchase counterfeit luxury goods beyond their hedonic, utilitarian, economic, or status signaling value. Finally, the positive effect of the egalitarian value of counterfeit luxury goods on purchase preference is greater among consumers who think equality is more desirable and attainable (i.e., those low in social dominance orientation). Our results outline one psychological mechanism underlying consumers' interests in counterfeit luxury goods, explaining how egalitarian value may link two important societal issues: growing income inequality and increased demand for counterfeits.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s). Journal of Consumer Psychology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Consumer Psychology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: compensatory consumption, counterfeits, equity, inequality, perceptions
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Departments: Bayes Business School
Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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