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Spanish Journal of Marketing - ESIC 2017;21:52-62 - DOI: 10.1016/j.sjme.2016.11.001
Article
Parental influence on the levels of regional ethnocentrism of youth: An exploratory analysis
La influencia parental en los niveles de etnocentrismo regional de los jóvenes: un análisis exploratorio
P. Fernández-Ferrína,, , B. Bandeb, M.M. Galán-Laderoc
a Associate Professor, University of Basque Country UPV/EHU, Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Department of Marketing and Finance, C/Comandante Izarduy, 23, 01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
b Associate Professor, University of Navarra/Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Facultad de Económicas, Campus Universitario, 31009 Pamplona, Spain
c Associate Professor, University of Extremadura – UEx, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Department of Business Management & Sociology, Avda. Elvas, s/n, 06006 Badajoz, Spain
Received 13 March 2016, Accepted 28 November 2016
Abstract

This investigation studies the influence of parents on the level of regional ethnocentrism in their children. The proposed model considers the parents’ levels of regional identity and regional ethnocentrism as potential antecedents of ethnocentrism among their children.

The results are based on 195 triads consisting of young consumers and their parents. The findings show that despite low levels of ethnocentrism among youth, parental influence is significant and greater than the effect of other variables. The exploratory analysis presented here supports the assumption that consumer ethnocentrism is a general tendency acquired during childhood through the process of socialization.

Resumen

Este trabajo estudia la influencia de los padres en los niveles de etnocentrismo regional de sus hijos a través del planteamiento y contrastación de un modelo en el que la identidad regional y los niveles de etnocentrismo regional de los padres son considerados posibles antecedentes del etnocentrismo de los hijos.

Los resultados, basados en 195 tríadas formadas por consumidores jóvenes y sus padres, muestran que, a pesar de que los niveles de etnocentrismo de los jóvenes son relativamente bajos, la influencia de los padres es muy significativa y, en todo caso, muy superior al efecto de otras variables. El análisis exploratorio realizado apoya el supuesto de que el etnocentrismo del consumidor es una tendencia general adquirida durante la infancia, por medio del proceso de socialización.

Keywords
Regional consumer ethnocentrism, Parental influence, Reference groups, Regional identity, Local products
Palabras clave
Etnocentrismo regional del consumidor, Influencia parental, Grupos de referencia, Identidad regional, Productos locales
Introduction

Currently, there is great interest in understanding the factors related to consumer choices between products of differing origins. However, for decades, this interest has been focused on identifying those factors that determine consumer preference for national products compared with foreign products (Fischer & Zeugner-Roth, 2016; García-Gallego, Chamorro-Mera, & García-Galán, 2015). Studies about the demand for local products are more recent, and studies in the area of marketing are still scarce (see, for example, Fernández-Ferrín & Bande-Vilela, 2015; van Ittersum, Candel, & Meulenberg, 2003), particularly in the Spanish setting.

Current studies have revealed an increasing tendency among consumers to purchase food products from the local (or a nearby) region (Campbell, 2011). This is motivated in part by local consumer groups that seek to support local economies in the face of competition from large multinational corporations. Motivations for buying local products are a combination of private and public attributes (Fernández-Ferrín, Bande, Calvo-Turrientes, & Galán-Ladero, 2016; García-Gallego et al., 2015; Onozaka & Mcfadden, 2011; Stere & Trajani, 2015; Thilmany, Bond, & Keeling Bond, 2008): freshness, a reflection of the regional identity, a specific quality based on human expertise and/or the natural environment, and a desire to support the local economy, keep local jobs, or reduce the carbon footprint by buying products that have been produced at a closer distance.

There is a significant amount of literature regarding the antecedents of consumer ethnocentrism. These publications are based on empirical studies that have been conducted in a large number of countries and have considered multiple variables. Thus, when reviewing the literature, certain biases toward the most frequently analyzed socio-demographic variables must be considered, such as age, gender, level of education, and level of income (e.g., Caruana, 1996; Erdogan & Uzkurt, 2010; Fernández-Ferrín & Bande-Vilela, 2015; Ganideh & Good, 2016; García-Gallego & Chamorro-Mera, 2016).

To the best of our knowledge, the possible influence of parental attitudes on the level of ethnocentrism among children has not yet been examined. However, in one of the first studies on the subject, Shimp (1984) stated that ethnocentric tendencies for a consumer are derived principally from his or her socialization experiences within the family and, to a lesser extent, from opinion leaders, classmates, and media beginning in childhood.

This study hopes to bridge these two gaps in the literature: first, a subnational scale of analysis is applied to complement the more common scale (domestic products compared with foreign products); second, one of the less studied antecedents of consumer ethnocentrism is investigated: the influence of the parental reference group on young consumers.

This study is based on social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986), which states that individuals tend to classify themselves into groups of individuals (one's own group) that they differentiate from other groups (outside groups). In the literature, this theory has served to explain consumer choice between domestic and foreign products.

This study is structured as follows. First, the definitions of a local product are reviewed, and the absence of a universally accepted definition of these concepts is highlighted. Second, the evolution of the concept of ethnocentrism is examined from its original conception to its depiction of regional ethnocentrism, with a particular focus on consumer ethnocentrism. Third, the foundations of social identity theory, on which this study is based, are presented. Fourth, the hypotheses of this study, which are based on a review of the literature regarding antecedents of consumer ethnocentrism, are stated. Fifth, the methodology of the study is detailed. Finally, the main results of the empirical analysis are discussed, and the main conclusions of this study are summarized.

Definition of local product

Thilmany et al. (2008) suggested that the importance of the ‘local food’ movement was manifested by the selection of ‘Locavores’ in 2007 as the word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, which defines the term as a resident who tries to consume food produced within a 100-mile radius. Locavores preferentially choose local food over non-local food (Edwards-Jones, 2010). Sneed, Dena, Berry, and Fainhurst (2012) noted that the US Congress defined a local agricultural product as one that requires less than 400 miles of travel between its origin and its market or one that is produced within the state where it is sold. For Hand and Martinez (2010), this definition manifests the difficulty of delimiting what a local product is using geographic criteria, especially in a country (the USA) that includes states of varying size (large western states compared with smaller eastern states). Chambers, Lobb, Butler, Harvey, and Traill (2007) considered a local food product to be one that is produced and sold within a maximum radius of 20–50 miles with respect to the consumer's residence, although they note that the academic and government literature (United Kingdom) describe local food products as being those cultivated and sold within the same region or county (Edwards-Jones et al., 2008).

A number of authors are beginning to question whether definitions of local products based on geographic or spatial criteria properly address the perceptions of consumers. For Edwards-Jones (2010), local food is more related to the type of production than to strict geographical definitions. Hand and Martinez (2010) suggested that consumers who seek local products are concerned with how the products are prepared and who produces them, and these authors indicate two consumer attributes that complement the concept of local products. The first is a desire for personal interaction with producers, which can reduce social distance in production–consumption relative to geographic distance. The second attribute is the environmental and social sustainability associated with the means of production, which is manifested in support for small enterprises and practices associated with animal welfare (Martínez et al., 2010). Currently, there is increasing concern about sustainability (Coley, Howard, & Winter, 2009) and environmental impact (Edwards-Jones, 2010). These factors are being considered as they relate to local food (Edwards-Jones, 2010), specifically concerning the impacts on biodiversity, landscape, water quality, and CO2 emissions (originated by transport but also by production and storage). However, local food does not necessarily mean a lower carbon impact (Coley et al., 2009; Edwards-Jones, 2010).

The literature does not offer a universal definition of a local product that can be applied to different regions, companies or consumers. Nevertheless, determining consumer perceptions of local or regional products can be fundamental for companies seeking to emphasize their products’ origin in their marketing strategies (Darby, Batte, Erst, & Roe, 2008) through place-of-origin indication or regional certification labels (PDO labels).

Differing levels of ethnocentrismEthnocentrism

The concept of consumer ethnocentrism stems from the more general concept of ethnocentrism, which Sumner (1906, p. 13) defined as “the view of things in which one's own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it … Each group nourishes its own pride and vanity, boasts itself superior, exalts its own divinities and looks with contempt on outsiders”. Thus, ethnocentrism was originally used to explain certain group behavior patterns and intergroup relations (Jiménez & San Martín, 2016).

The main cause of ethnocentrism in current societies is the tendency to simplify and generalize other cultures. Ethnocentrism leads one to analyze the environment from the perspective of the group to which one belongs, including blind acceptance of those who are culturally similar and rejection of those from differing cultures (Booth, 1979; Worchel & Cooper, 1979). Ethnocentrism “secures group survival and it is not limited to countries, but rather to any group that seeks to maintain and protect its cultural norms and values, and its own identity” (Jiménez & San Martín, 2016, p. 351).

Consumer ethnocentrism

The concept of consumer ethnocentrism was developed as a marketing application of the ethnocentrism concept (Ganideh & Good, 2016); it was initially suggested by Shimp (1984) to describe the perception of consumers in the USA regarding the supply of products imported from other countries. Later, Shimp and Sharma (1987) and Sharma, Shimp, and Shin (1995) used this term to refer to consumer beliefs regarding the propriety and morality of acquiring products made outside their own country.

From the perspective of ethnocentric consumers, ‘purchasing imported products is wrong because, in their minds, it hurts the domestic economy, causes loss of jobs, and is plainly unpatriotic; products from other countries (i.e., outgroups) are objects of contempt to highly ethnocentric consumers’ (Shimp & Sharma, 1987, p. 280). Shimp (1984) considered the ethnocentric tendencies of a consumer to be principally derived from his or her experiences of socialization. The family and to a lesser extent opinion leaders, classmates and media influence the ethnocentric orientation of an individual from childhood onward. Factors that influence consumer ethnocentric tendencies are the economic and political environment as well as demographic factors – age, gender, education and income (Stere & Trajani, 2015).

Consumer ethnocentrism is a biased preference toward one's own country (Ganideh & Good, 2016), but individuals can consider themselves to be members of different social groups that are not necessarily mutually exclusive. They can belong to various social groups simultaneously: their town (local), region, country, continent – or, indeed, the world. Thus, different levels of analysis can be considered (Fernández-Ferrín & Bande-Vilela, 2015): (1) supra-national levels (e.g., consumers who identify with the European Union or xenocentric consumers, who are attracted by the foreignness of a product); (2) national or domestic levels; and (3) subnational levels (regional and local levels).

Subnational consumer ethnocentrism

Although research on consumer ethnocentrism has been limited almost exclusively to the choice between domestic and imported products, it is also possible to find literature that supports the need to consider a subnational scale of analysis. Burgess and Harris (1999) find it essential to consider distinct social identities in research on country of origin effects, especially in emerging markets and economies in transition. Ouellet (2007) offered the concept of ethnic ethnocentrism, which has similar antecedents and consequences to consumer ethnocentrism as introduced by Shimp and Sharma (1987) and can thus be measured with the consumer ethnocentrism tendencies scale (CETSCALE). In this case, the country is replaced by the ethnic group, and the ethnically ethnocentric consumer will positively value and show a greater disposition to buying products from his or her own ethnic group compared with those produced by outside groups. Additional studies regarding inter-ethnic ethnocentrism have been conducted by Vida, Dmitrovic, and Obadia (2008) in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Poon, Evangelista, and Albaum (2010) in Australia.

Other scales for subnational analysis have received less attention, and research regarding the presence of regional ethnocentrism has been practically non-existent, with the exception of the contributions of Siemieniako, Kubacki, Glinska, and Krot (2011) and Fernández-Ferrín and Bande-Vilela (2013). A region has been defined as “an area, situated within one or more countries, which forms an entity based on characteristics such as traditions, culture, and scenery” (van Ittersum, Meulenberg, van Trijp, & Candel, 2007, p. 2). Regions are much more homogeneous in terms of their human and natural environment factors than countries, and they may provide a more consistent image, offering better opportunities for differentiating a product. However, despite this potential, the use of the region of origin as a marketing tool has not received much attention in marketing research.

Social identity theory

Social identity theory, considered a sub-theory of social cognition (Korte, 2007), is “a social psychological analysis of the role of self-conception in group membership, group processes, and intergroup relations” (Hogg, 2006, zx 111). It was developed by Tajfel (1981) to understand the relationship between individual identity and group identity (Korte, 2007).

According to Lantz and Loeb (1996), the ‘self-concept’ is composed of two features: (1) personal identity, which refers to the specific attributes of an individual (not shared with other people – Hogg, 2006), such as competency, talent or sociability; and (2) social identity, which is derived from an awareness of belonging to a group and accompanied by the value and emotional importance of belonging. Within the group, individuals have the same definition of who they are, their attributes, and their relations and differences from individuals who do not belong to their group (Hogg, 2006).

An individual can maintain various social identities simultaneously, and one will stand out among the rest when the combination of personal and situational characteristics propitiate the ‘depersonalization’ of personal identity. Depersonalization “does not insinuate a negative connotation in the sense of dehumanization. It is a neutral description of the tendency of the individual to downplay personal attributes in favor of acquiring group attributes…it is not a loss of personal identity but rather the acquisition of an additional identity” (Korte, 2007, pp. 169–170).

According to Shimp, Dunn, and Klein (2004), an individual's self-concept is based on real or perceived differences (stereotypes) between the individual's group and outside groups and can influence his or her evaluations and behaviors. For Korte (2007), the identity of the group becomes stronger as the similarities within the group and the differences from other groups increase.

At the end of the 1970s, academics refocused attention on the categorization process in social identity phenomena and formalized self-categorization theory (Hogg, 2006). Self-categorization theory states that individuals want to belong to groups that have a positive image. Thus, when a consumer has a strong local identity, he or she perceives local products as being of higher quality, even in the absence of objective information to support that evaluation. According to Korte (2007, p. 169), “social identity theory and self-categorization theory are complementary theories explaining social identity – what it is (the elements) and how it develops (the processes). Individuals develop a social identity (the element) through a process of self-categorization”. Huddy (2001) maintains that ethnocentrism is a consequence of this self-categorization.

Antecedents of regional ethnocentrism: parental influence

An elevated level of identity with a social category leads to elevated ethnocentric tendencies with that social category (Lantz & Loeb, 1998). These authors found that the identification of an individual with his or her local environment was a clear antecedent of the level of ethnocentrism, and this in turn predicted his or her preference for local products. Similar results were found in studies of Turkish (Kaynak & Kara, 2002) and Guatemalan consumers (Spillan, Kucukemiroglu, & Harcar, 2007). At the regional scale, Fernández-Ferrín and Bande-Vilela (2013) found a positive and significant relationship between the regional identity of a sample of Galician consumers and their levels of regional ethnocentrism. According to the evidence detailed above, the following hypotheses can be formed:

  • H1a: The regional identity of fathers will have a positive influence on their level of regional ethnocentrism;

  • H1b: The regional identity of mothers will have a positive influence on their level of regional ethnocentrism;

  • H1c: The regional identity of children will have a positive influence on their level of regional ethnocentrism.

According to the theory of social identity, the personal and social identities of an individual form a self-concept, and both are necessary for the individual to have positive self-esteem. Further, the literature notes that the behaviors of young people are clearly affected by persons with whom they come into contact, either directly or indirectly, with these other persons acting as role models (Bandura, 1986). Many authors have considered that the family, especially parents, serve as models for children. They are the primary socialization agents (Sancho, Miquel, & Aldás, 2011), and their influence regarding attitudes and patterns of consumption is much greater than that of other role models, such as teachers, classmates (Moschis, 1985), or media (Mukherji, 2000), especially before adolescence (Martin & Bush, 2000). Mukherji (2000, p. 24) maintains that “the family is the guiding force for a psychological and social functioning because social interactions in the family are typically of the longest duration and contain the most intimate relationship”. Although the socialization process has been traditionally centered on children/childhood, it is a broader concept, since it also includes adolescence or young adulthood (Mukherji, 2000; Sancho et al., 2011). Gniewosz and Noack (2015, p. 1789) consider that “it is important to investigate differences between maternal and paternal influences”.

Due to the lack of knowledge regarding the process through which an individual forms a regional identity, in this exploratory study, we suggest that parents contribute significantly to shaping the regional identity of their children:

  • H2a: The regional identity of fathers will positively influence the regional identity of their children;

  • H2b: The regional identity of mothers will positively influence the regional identity of their children.

According to socialization theory, as explained earlier, and to the earliest studies on consumer ethnocentrism (Shimp, 1984), the family is one of the most important factors in the socialization process of an individual and the formation of his or her ethnocentric orientation. Peterson, Steinmetz, and Wilson (2012, p. 15) indicate that “perhaps the most important benefit of examining parent-youth relations from cultural and cross-cultural perspectives is the role these viewpoints can play in preventing the worst manifestations of ethnocentrism”. Gniewosz and Noack (2015) explain that theories of the development of prejudice also suggest that parents are important in the development of prejudice, and they review different studies that provide evidence for a substantial correlation between adolescent and parental ratings on ethnic prejudice. They also maintain that “some studies, based on cross-lagged analyses, point to positive parent-to-adolescent effects across time in regards to ethnocentrism” (Gniewosz & Noack, 2015, p. 1788).

Based on the evidence found in the literature, we suggest that the parents’ levels of regional ethnocentrism will positively influence the ethnocentric tendencies of their children.

  • H3a: The father's level of regional ethnocentrism will positively influence his children's level of regional ethnocentrism;

  • H3b: The mother's level of regional ethnocentrism will positively influence her children's level of regional ethnocentrism.

The proposed relationships are presented in Fig. 1. We also consider three control variables: gender, the individual's perception of improvement in his or economic situation, and the individual's perception of improvement in the regional economy.

Figure 1.

Proposed theoretical model.

MethodologySample

To achieve the objectives of this investigation and study whether levels of regional identity and regional ethnocentrism among parents significantly influence the values observed in children, two conditions should be set to for young consumers within the sample: (1) they should be adults over the age of 18 and have the ability to make decisions; and (2) parents and children should form a single family unit. These two requirements are usually satisfied in the case of university students.

Although data collection among students is sometimes criticized in the literature, studies have defended the suitability of samples of ‘young adults with high levels of education’ (Martin & Bush, 2000; Vermeir & Verbeke, 2008) because they (1) are the consumers of the future; (2) are in the stage at which their personal identities and belief and value systems are being formed; (3) have increasing buying power and influence on the buying decisions of their family; and (4) act as markers for consumption trends. Strizhakova, Coulter, and Price (2012) consider young consumers to be an attractive segment for multinational companies, especially in emerging markets, because they are innovative, amenable to trying to new products, aware of their identity, and highly exposed to global media.

The students selected as participants here were studying business at a mid-sized university in southwest Europe (Extremadura, Spain). The students, who are taking classes taught by one of the coauthors of this study, were asked to complete a questionnaire measuring consumer ethnocentrism at the regional scale as well as the following variables: regional identity, personal financial perception, economic situation perception, and gender. Further, to complete the data collection and measure the regional ethnocentric tendencies and level of regional identity for the participants’ parents, the students were asked to administer surveys and the relevant portion of the questionnaire to their parents. They were instructed not to influence the responses of their parents and only to clarify any questions that their parents might have on the subject. The questionnaire was accompanied by an explanatory letter regarding the purpose of the study. Data were collected in December 2013 through a convenience sample.

The sample size is considered to be adequate for the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), which was conducted to check the psychometric properties of the measurements used in the study. Following the recommendations of Sideridis, Simos, Papanicolaou, and Fletcher (2014), a power analysis was performed, using a tool designed by Preacher and Coffman (2006) to detect what MacCallum, Browne, and Sugawara (1996) call a close fit (associated with Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) values less than or equal to 0.05). The estimated sample size was 50.58 for a desired statistical power=0.8, a level of significance of α=0.05, degrees of freedom=470, null RMSEA0=0.05 (a close fit) and an alternative RMSEAa=0.08 (not as close a fit). The statistical power associated with the CFA used in this study on a sample of 195 individuals is equal to 0.99, a very satisfactory value.

Measurements

The measurement of consumer regional ethnocentrism is a reduced, six-indicator version of the CETSCALE created by Klein, Ettenson, and Krishnan (2005); this scale was previously tested in six countries and found to contain good psychometric properties. The CETSCALE has also been judged reliable and valid in the context of Galician consumers purchasing regional/non-regional products (Fernández-Ferrín & Bande-Vilela, 2013).

Concern for the family financial situation and concern for the regional economic situation (two control variables) were measured by adapting the scales from Klein and Ettenson (1999): ‘Rate your personal/household financial situation relative to one year ago’ and ‘Rate the situation of the economy of Extremadura relative to one year ago’ (1: much worse; 7: much better). By measuring the psycho-sociological antecedent, the identification of an autonomous community or regional identity can be considered to be an adaptation of the scale from Lantz and Loeb (1998).

Results

The descriptive analyses performed show that the levels of regional identity are rather high for children (m=5.216), fathers (m=5.666) and mothers (m=5.654). A Student's t test was performed on means for the paired samples and confirmed that the regional identity of fathers and mothers is significantly different from that of children (t=−4.218, p<.001; t=−4.384, p<.001, respectively); significant differences were not observed between the scores of the two spouses. As expected, the levels of regional ethnocentrism among children (m=3.073) were significantly lower (t=−6.655, p<.001, t=−7.079, p<.001, respectively) than the levels observed in their fathers (m=3.779) and mothers (m=3.799). These results are consistent with those from other studies, which show that young individuals have a lower probability of being ethnocentric (Orth & Firbasová, 2003).

The reliability of the measuring scales was assessed in three ways: the Cronbach's alpha coefficient, a composite reliability analysis and the variance extracted index. For the first analysis, SPSS 24.0 was used; for the other two, a CFA was performed using the AMOS IBM 24.0 program. The obtained values are above the recommended limits for all tests, indicating scale reliability (see Table 1). These values were also above those reported by Fernández-Ferrín and Bande-Vilela (2013) when measuring regional identity and regional ethnocentrism for Galician consumers.

Table 1.

Reliability of the measurement scales and descriptive statistics.

Constructs and indicators  Mean  Standard deviation  Cronbach's α  Composite reliability*  AVE* 
Regional identity, child
I feel a strong identification with Extremadura
I feel good about living in Extremadura
I feel a commitment to Extremadura
I like being a part of my Autonomous Community
The feeling of pride in Extremadura is important for me 
5.216  1.427  0.923  0.921  0.702 
Regional ethnocentrism, child
One should only buy products from outside Extremadura when they are not available here
Products from Extremadura, first, last, and foremost
A real Extremaduran should always buy Extremadura-made products
Extremadurans should not buy products from outside the community because this hurts Extremadurans’ business and causes unemployment
It may cost me in the long run, but I prefer to support Extremaduran products
Extremadurans who purchase products made in other regions are responsible for putting their fellow Extremadurans out of work 
3.073  1.389  0.902  0.918  0.656 
Regional identity, father**  5.666  1.480  0.939  0.938  0.754 
Regional ethnocentrism, father***  3.779  1.522  0.922  0.915  0.647 
Regional identity, mother**  5.654  1.324  0.927  0.933  0.735 
Regional ethnocentrism, mother***  3.799  1.564  0.916  0.917  0.651 
Personal financial situation  4.041  1.209  –     
Economic situation in Extremadura  3.390  1.257  –     
Gender  0.554  0.498  –     
*

Indicators of goodness of fit (Confirmatory factor analysis – CFA): χ2 (df=470)=929,890, p=.000, χ2/df=1.978, Comparative Fit Index [CFI]=0.918, Goodness-of-Fit Index [GFI]=0.782, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation [RMSEA]=0.071.

**

The scale of measurement for the parents’ regional identity is the same as that for the children's.

***

The scale of measurement for the parents’ regional ethnocentrism is the same as that for the children's. All of the variables are measured on a seven-point Likert scale (1: totally disagree; 7: totally agree), except for personal financial situation and regional economic situation, which have the following extremes (1: much worse 7: much better). Gender (0: male; 1: female).

The AVE-SV method (Fornell & Larcker, 1981), which is considered substantially more effective than other methods (Voorhees, Brady, Calantone, & Ramirez, 2016), was used to assess discriminant validity. The average variance extracted (AVE) estimates for regional identity (AVEchild=0.702; AVEfather=0.754; AVEmother=0.735) and regional ethnocentrism (AVEchild=0.656; AVEfather=0.647; AVEmother=0.651) were greater than the shared variance (SC-squared correlation) between the two constructs (SCchild=0.194; SCfather=0.419; SCmother=0.207). Discriminant validity was thus established.

A CFA was conducted to assess the convergent validity of the measures, and the results show that all indicators load significantly and substantially on their respective constructs. The various measures of goodness of fit for the confirmatory factor model provide sufficient evidence that the results are an acceptable representation of the constructs (see Table 1).

To test the proposed hypotheses, we constructed a structural model (path analysis) using the composite variables as the latent variables. In this model, the regional ethnocentrism of children was the main dependent variable, and it was directly affected by (1) the level of regional ethnocentrism of their parents; (2) their own level of regional identity; (3) their perception of their personal financial situation and of the regional economic situation; and (4) gender. In addition, an indirect effect of regional identity of the parents on the regional ethnocentrism of their children through the latter's regional identity is also suggested. The analyses were performed using the program AMOS 24.0.

The fit of the structural model was good (see Table 2) and confirms the hypotheses related to the direct influence of parental levels of regional ethnocentrism on children's levels of ethnocentrism and the hypotheses related to the influence of parental levels of regional identity on the children's levels of regional identity and regional ethnocentrism. The modification indices suggest introducing the relationship between the level of regional ethnocentrism of the fathers and the level of ethnocentrism of the mothers into the model because it is significant (b=0.524, p<.01).

Table 2.

Result of the path analysis: estimated parameters.

Hypothesis  Effects  Non-standardized coefficient  Standard error  Critical ratio  Standardized coefficient* 
H1a  Regional identity, fatherRegional ethnocentrism, father  0.577***  0.066  8.725  0.531 (0.403, 0.607) 
H1b  Regional identity, motherRegional ethnocentrism, mother  0.296***  0.071  4.188  0.248 (0.154, 0.342) 
H1c  Regional identity, childRegional ethnocentrism, child  0.172***  0.058  2.976  0.178 (0.064, 0.254) 
H2a  Regional identity, fatherRegional identity, child  0.218***  0.086  2.549  0.214 (0.086, 0.370) 
H2b  Regional identity, motherRegional identity, child  0.369***  0.091  4.070  0.342 (0.166, 0.472) 
H3a  Regional ethnocentrism, fatherRegional ethnocentrism, child  0.229***  0.065  3.511  0.254 (0.137, 0.381) 
H3b  Regional ethnocentrism, motherRegional ethnocentrism, child  0.281***  0.063  4.451  0.322 (0.208, 0.448) 
Other effects  Non-standardized coefficient  Standard error  Critical ratio  Standardized coefficient* 
Personal financial situationRegional ethnocentrism, child  0.094ns  0.071  1.326  0.083 (−0.043, 0.219) 
Economic situation, ExtremaduraRegional ethnocentrism, child  0.012ns  0.068  0.173  0.011 (−0.122, 0.117) 
GenderRegional ethnocentrism, child  −0.132ns  0.159  −0.829  −0.048 (−0.173, 0.041) 
Regional ethnocentrism, fatherRegional ethnocentrism, mother  0.524***  0.061  8.538  0.506 (0.389, 0.592) 
  Covariance  S.E.  C.R.  Correlation 
Regional identity, fatherRegional identity, mother  1.252***  0.160  7.827  0.679 
Personal financial situationEconomic situation in Extremadura  0.589***  0.116  5.057  0.390 

Indicators of goodness of fit: χ2 (df=23)=27.427, p=.238, χ2/df=1.192, Comparative Fit Index [CFI]=0.990, Goodness-of-Fit Index [GFI]=0.970, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation [RMSEA]=0.031.

R2: Regional ethnocentrism, child=0.356; Regional ethnocentrism, father=0.282; Regional ethnocentrism, mother=0.408; Regional identity, child=0.262.

*

Bootstrapped 90% bias corrected confidence intervals after the standardized coefficients.

***

p<.01, ns=not significant.

The results obtained support hypotheses H1a, H1b and H1c and show the positive and significant influence of regional identity on regional ethnocentrism in the case of fathers (b=0.531, p<.01), mothers (b=0.248, p<.01) and children (b=0.178, p<.01). Hypotheses H2a, H2b, H3a and H3b are also supported because the fathers’ (b=0.214, p<.01) and mothers’ (b=0.342, p<.01) regional identity significantly and positively influence the regional identity of their children and because the fathers’ (b=0.254, p<.01) and mothers’ (b=0.322, p<.01) levels of regional ethnocentrism significantly and positively influence the regional ethnocentrism of their children.

Perception regarding individual financial situation, regional economic situation, and gender of the young consumers did not appear to have a significant influence on their levels of regional ethnocentrism (see Table 2).

Conclusions and discussion

This exploratory analysis of the responses from 195 triads formed by 195 youths and their respective fathers and mothers helped increase our understanding of various features that have not been explored in the literature on consumer ethnocentrism. First, our results indicate that while youths do not present high levels of regional ethnocentrism, they are clearly influenced by their fathers’ and mothers’ levels of regional identity through two indirect effects: the regional ethnocentrism of the parents and the regional identity of the children. Mukherji (2000, p. 25) maintain that as young adults transition into new roles (e.g., university student, independent living) “the salience and importance of the family is undermined and often replaced”. In a similar way, Gniewosz and Noack (2015) consider that external influences, such as parental influence, are likely in childhood and early adolescence, but they should decrease over time. However, our results show a relatively strong parental influence on regional ethnocentrism. The fact that 37 per cent of the young consumers lived with their parents and that 51 per cent visited them on the weekends show the strong family relationships in the analyzed context.

The relationship between the level of regional ethnocentrism of the fathers and the level of ethnocentrism of the mothers was not initially proposed but is coherent with previous studies. Xia et al. (2006, p. 202) maintain that “the spousal influence in the family purchase decision-making process is a complex issue”. While some societies are characterized by patriarchal norms and a high level of traditional values in the family, others are characterized by more egalitarian norms and joint decisions.

Second, the economic antecedents (perception of individual financial situation and perception of regional economic situation) and the demographic antecedent (gender) considered in the analysis as control variables did not have an effect on the regional ethnocentrism of the youth. These results contradict those of Klein and Ettenson (1999), who observed these effects for a sample of US consumers. Fernández-Ferrín, Bande-Vilela, Klein, and del Río-Araújo (2015) reviewed the literature on the antecedents of consumer ethnocentrism and found that many studies did not find any significant effect of demographics.

Third, significant differences were observed between children and parents in their levels of regional identity and regional consumer ethnocentrism, with lower levels observed among the youth. These results are consistent with those of previous studies, in which a positive relationship between age and consumer ethnocentrism has been observed (Caruana, 1996; Good & Huddleston, 1995; Watson & Wright, 2000).

We believe that one of the main contributions of this study is its incorporation of antecedents previously considered in the literature, which are demographic and economic in nature, with two variables associated with parental influence: regional identity and parents’ regional ethnocentrism. Thus, this study combined evaluations from three distinct sources. Further, we believe that the subnational scale of analysis performed here in the study of consumer ethnocentrism is another important contribution because of the scarcity of studies at the regional scale. The concept of consumer ethnocentrism can help marketers and managers to differentiate markets and strategies and to position their products not only in domestic and global markets but also in local and regional ones.

Limitations and future lines of investigation

This exploratory study has a series of limitations. First, the use of a sample of university students from a specific school can affect the external validity of the results. Second, we studied parental influence in only one region of Spain. Thus, a comparison of the model's performance in other geographical areas is recommended. Third, we analyzed parental influence at a particular moment for a group of youth. It would be useful to know if this influence is diluted with age or if it is stable over time. However, it is difficult to combine triads of data from fathers, mothers, and children when the children are middle-aged. Finally, we did not examine the possible effects or consequences of levels of regional ethnocentrism on the intention to buy, the evaluation of local products or actual purchase. Some studies that analyze the consequences of consumer ethnocentrism are worth mentioning, such as that conducted by Fernández-Ferrín and Bande-Vilela (2013) on Galician consumers as well as García-Gallego and Chamorro-Mera (2016) and García-Gallego et al. (2015) on consumers from Extremadura.

Conflict of interest

None declared.

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Corresponding author at: University of Basque Country UPV/EHU, Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Department of Marketing and Finance, C/Comandante Izarduy, 23, 01006 Vitoria-Gasteiz Spain.
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