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Educational approaches to enable marketplace metacognition and social intelligence in subsistence consumers

Yukti Sharma (Department of Marketing, Goa Institute of Management, Sattari, India)
Saravana Jaikumar (Marketing Group, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Kolkata, India)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 12 October 2022

Issue publication date: 16 January 2023




Subsistence marketplace can be characterized as a marketplace with widespread cognitive and social vulnerabilities, due to low income and low literacy levels. This may result in retailers exploiting the consumers. The purpose of this research paper is to develop a holistic learning program to impart marketplace intelligence to overcome these vulnerabilities of subsistence consumers.


Using vicious cycle approach, the authors illustrate the self-perpetuating nature of consumer vulnerabilities. The authors argue that retailers behave in an opportunistic manner and exploit the consumers. This further reinforces the vulnerabilities of subsistence consumers resulting in a vicious cycle. The authors draw insights from Sen’s capability approach and propose marketplace intelligence as a potential solution to eradicate consumers’ vulnerabilities. The authors apply Biggs’s 3Ps model to design a learning program to impart two types of marketplace intelligence – marketplace metacognition and marketplace social intelligence.


Based on a review of literature on subsistence marketplace initiatives, persuasive knowledge management and education research, the authors have devised a holistic learning program comprising an integrated learning environment (presage), problem-based approach (process) and assessment strategies for learning outcomes (product).


This study marks a pioneering effort toward liberating subsistence consumers from the vicious cycle of retailers’ exploitation by empowering them with marketplace intelligence. This study’s novelty lies in conceptualizing consumer vulnerabilities in the subsistence marketplace as a self-perpetuating phenomenon and subsequently designing a holistic learning program to impart intelligence toward alleviating these vulnerabilities.



Sharma, Y. and Jaikumar, S. (2023), "Educational approaches to enable marketplace metacognition and social intelligence in subsistence consumers", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 40 No. 1, pp. 44-55.



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