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Vulnerable Communities / Publication Abstract

Book Review: Materializing poverty: how the poor transform their lives

Jan 1, 2015

Ronald Paul Hill

Vulnerable Communities


Spending much of one's academic career looking at the plight of impoverished consumers is a difficult road to follow, even under the best of circumstances. While the world is made up mostly of poor people, the marketing field in general and the consumer behavior subfield in particular have given such citizens limited attention (Martin and Hill 2012). The underlying rationale is unknown, but if my experience publishing in this area is any guide, editors and reviewers seem to feel that those consumers at the proverbial bottom-of-the-pyramid are often excluded because they cannot be easily subjected to preferred methods of discovery like experiementation (can we place students in a lab and take all hope away from them?) or their needs and desires are nearly identical to more affluent consumers and require no additional research. The former is probably correct but the latter is not true. In fact, surprising differences emerge around issues as diverse as saving versus spending behaviors (Martin and Hill, forthcoming).

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