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IRG 3-7: The Politics of Consumer Choice.
(Bruce Bimber, Lauren Copeland, Meredith Conroy)
This project uses a national survey of citizens to examine the attributes and attitudes associated with political choices in the marketplace, and explore how people who engage in political consumption respond to questions about nano-related products. Research shows an increase in recent decades in political consumption across Europe and in the US: that is, instances where consumers make choices in the marketplace that partially reflect political, ethical, or social concerns. Boycotting or “buycotting” are reported by about 30% of Americans each year. This phenomenon is not well understood, especially the circumstances under which these acts represent risk-avoidance as opposed to environmental or ethical choices involving public goods problems. It is unclear, moreover, how the rise in political consumption might affect consumer products with nanotechnology in them. The survey was conducted in late 2011. Results from this study will be integrated with those of projects by IRG 3-3.