Date of Award

Fall 10-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Newman, George


My dissertation focuses on how intangible properties of a product (e.g., authenticity) affect consumer utility and purchase decisions above and beyond a product’s tangible properties (e.g., functionality). This dissertation builds on previous research on conceptual consumption, which has established that consumers’ evaluations of a product are not only influenced by its physical properties but also by various psychological properties associated with the product. Specifically, two essays identify antecedents that lead consumers to value a product for its intangible properties.Each essay in my dissertation explores different market phenomena that cannot be accounted for by extant theories. The first essay explores a case in which consumers prefer retro products that were never part of their past (communally nostalgic products) to their functionally superior, modern alternatives. The second essay examines the market phenomenon wherein consumers prefer the original version of a product to a new and functionally superior version of the same product in the context of heritage brands. Together, two essays enrich our understanding of the critical role intangible properties play in consumption by demonstrating that a product’s intangible properties can not only serve as an independent source of value but also trump a product’s salient, tangible properties.