An Initial Model of Scarcity

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Traditional socioeconomic indicators used in most of the literature fail to fully capture the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and behavior. The use of additional concepts that assess a broader array of actual and perceived economic and social resources may prove beneficial in addressing the direct and indirect influences on behavior and well-being. Scarcity is one such concept. The purpose of this study was to develop a conceptual framework for the nature and dimensions of scarcity. The literature on material hardship and time pressure, as well as interpersonal and intrapersonal resources were used to inform the development of the model. Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with 24 individuals. Results from this study identified the aspects of scarcity that were most salient to participants across the SES spectrum. This study yielded 5 major themes, including 3 possible dimensions that were both needs- and wants-based in nature: material scarcity, time scarcity, and psychological resource scarcity. The proposed model provides a strong theoretical framework from which to conduct future research on scarcity.

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