Sequential versus Simultaneous: The Variety-Seeking in Gift Giving

  •  Claudio Hoffmann Sampaio    
  •  Carolina Brun Ruga    


Gift giving is an exchange that occurs since the beginning of civilization. It has a social, economic, and communication role (Belk, 1976). It is a complex act that involves many agents and factors, like gift giver and gift receiver preferences, the relationship between them, and the context where the gift is exchanged. The critical point in gift giving is to elevate receiver preferences without losing identity and keep a focus on the relationship (Liu, Dallas, & Fitzsimons, 2019). Nowadays, gift giving represents an essential part of Brazilian economics and culture (CNDL, 2019; 2020). This paper has an objective to understand how the offer framing effect, which suggests that the way a product is offered to a decision-maker and the number of choices this person performs, may impact the decision made (Mittelman, Andrade, Chattopadhyap, & Brendl, 2014), and how the social closeness between givers and receivers affects variety-seeking in gift giving situations. Through an experimental study, this paper found that social closeness influences variety-seeking, when givers and receivers are closer (distant) the choices are less (more) varied. It is also found that the relation between social closeness and variety-seeking depends on the way the choice is done (sequential or simultaneous) since this relation only happened when the choice was not sequential. Furthermore, preference uncertainty is a possible explanation for the main relation.

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