Scarcity effects on value: A quantitative review of the commodity theory literature


  • This article is a modification of earlier reviews reported in a dissertation submitted to the Ohio State University and in a presentation at the 1987 MPA convention in Chicago.


Commodity theory (Brock, 1968) deals with the psychological effects of scarcity. According to the theory, scarcity enhances the value (or desirability) of anything that can be possessed, is useful to its possessor, and is transferable from one person to another. This article introduces commodity theory to the marketing literature, reports a meta-analysis of studies designed to test the theory, and discusses the marketing implications of the theory along with suggestions for future marketing research.