Black Markets: Empirical studies into the economic behaviour of the black market consumer.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Most attempts by governments to reduce black market activity target the supplier rather than the consumer. The current thesis, however, sees reducing the willingness of the consumer to buy such goods as crucial in reducing the market. Over three studies, I examined variables that affected consumers buying from black markets and their perceptions of black markets. Study 1 (80 participants) confirmed the hypothesis that when the need to buy from a black market was for survival it would be considered more acceptable than to save money or to buy luxury goods. Study 1 further showed it was less acceptable to buy from the black market when the victim resulting from the purchase of the good was identified as an individual, rather than an organisation or society. Age and the gender of the consumer were also significant predictors of the rating of acceptability. In Study 2,65 participants completed a series of computer simulated scenarios to measure the price they would pay for different black market goods. Results indicate that the price participants were willing to pay for black market goods varied according to who the victim was (individual, organisation or society) and the participant's age and gender. Finally, in Study 3, 64 participants completed a similar task to Study 2, but some participants were informed about the true cost of black markets. Results confirmed the previous findings as well as indicating that the type of crime committed to procure the good and whether they saw information about the true cost of the markets also affected the price they would be willing to pay. The thesis concludes with suggestions for reducing black market activity.