Sydney Clark

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Through this paper, we will ask ourselves whether irrational behaviors such as anchoring, symbolic utility, and self-concept help explain low-income households’ purchasing decisions concerning vehicle class or size. We will argue these behaviors do explain these purchasing decisions, and we will narrow this case study to pick-up truck ownership and purchases of the four lowest, median, and highest-income states in the United States from 1990-2015. We will use existing survey data to relate demographics to state data such as the nominal net farm income per capita and personality type, as a distinguishing proxy to capture purchasing traits. The period in our case study coincides with the United States’ steady increase in oil reserves and its efforts to become a leading producer and exporter of oil following the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88).8 Since oil and petrol-related products serve as underlying inputs in the market for automobiles, including the sales of pick-up trucks, this will aid the assumption that a main contributor to the widespread ownership of vehicles in the United States is partially related to the ease of access of oil in America.


Undergraduate Research Awards - 2019 Finalist, Junior-Senior category.