Consumer Activism in Times of Economic Crisis and Recovery: A Cross-Country aAnalysis of the Role of Social Capital in Boycotting Products
Purpose: This paper’s objective is twofold: 1) to show how the outbreak of an economic crisis and then an economic recovery affect consumer activism; and 2) to examine how social capital moderates the effects of economic crisis and economic recovery. Design/Methodology/Approach: Drawing on the economic and sociological literature, this study develops a set of hypotheses that explain the role of social capital in consumer activism under different economic conditions. In order to test research predictions, the study uses a reliable data source that is European Social Survey. Findings: The research findings clearly demonstrate that social capital at the country level boosts consumer activism during an economic recovery. Intriguingly, the study shows that social capital seems to have a neutral effect on boycotting products during an economic crisis. Practical Implications: This study suggests that consumers are likely to become more sensitive to unethical behaviour by companies in a situation of economic recovery. Thus, firms should be particularly careful about ethically questionable situations in that time. Originality/Value: The added value arises from showing the role of social capital in consumer activism, in different economic conditions.