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Social contract theory and the ethics of deception in consumer research



Authors / Editors

Smith N C;Klein J G;Kimmel A J

Publication Year



Deception of research participants is arguably the most pervasive ethical issue in consumer research. However, researchers have little guidance on its acceptability, notwithstanding the codes of root disciplines. We use social contract theory to identify the conditions under which deception may or may not be morally permissible. Principles guiding research practice are formulated and their implications for consumer researchers and others are identified, together with practical recommendations for decision making on deception studies.

Publication Research Centre

Centre for Marketing

Series Number

CM 05-702


Centre for Marketing Working Paper

Available on ECCH


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