We’re In This Together: How Sellers, Social Values, and Relationship Norms Influence Consumer Payments in Pay-What-You-Want Contexts,” under revision for second review at Journal of Marketing.


We add to the prior research on Pay-What-You-Want (PWYW) pricing, that has largely focused on explaining why consumers pay above zero, by demonstrating that buyers not only pay above zero, but sometimes pay above their reference price in such settings, and by highlighting how sellers can positively influence buyer payments. We explain buyer behavior in PWYW settings by positing that they view the transaction as a socially interdependent one, and consider both their own economic outcomes and those of the seller when deciding what to pay. The degree to which buyers consider own versus seller outcomes varies with their social value orientation (SVO) and whether exchange or communal relationship norms are salient, which in turn affects buyers’ willingness to pay and their likelihood of overpayment.