The Effect of Child Labor in Africa on Consumers of the Cell Phone Industry

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily Kathryn Smith (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Joseph Cazier

Abstract: The ethical integrity of companies is important to assess as companies face challenges that arise from different social and environmental responsibility issues. Child labor is one such issue that is currently impacting children in the Democratic Republic of Congo as they mine for coltan. This conflict mineral is used in many consumer electronics, which raises the issue of what consumers and companies are doing to take action against this issue. This study uses the issue of child labor to mine coltan for cell phones to assess the ethical impact on consumers of the cell phone industry. Consumer awareness leads to an assessment of revised social (and/or environmental) features (Auger, Burke, Devinney, & Louviere, 2003), which looks at the existence of price premiums and purchase intentions. The willingness-to-pay for social features leads to ethical consumerism, which positively reinforces the continued focus on corporate responsibility among businesses. Survey results analyzing the issue are used to show that consumers identify child labor as socially unjust and consumers are willing to pay more for phones that can be certified as child labor-free.

Additional Information

Smith, E.K. (2011). The Effect of Child Labor in Africa on Consumers of the Cell Phone Industry. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2011
Child labor, Coltan, Purchase intention, Ethical consumerism, Price premiums

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