Understanding Car Pride and Its Behavioral Implications

TitleUnderstanding Car Pride and Its Behavioral Implications
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsZhan Zhao, Jinhua Zhao
Keywordscar ownership, car pride, car use, Shanghai, Structural Equation Model

Cars have symbolic significance beyond their functional purpose, and people often take pride in owning and using them. However, little is known about what this pride is and how it affects travel behavior. This paper constitutes the first attempt to provide a conceptual framework of car pride and test its behavioral implications. In this paper, car pride is defined as the self-conscious emotion derived from the appraisal of car ownership and use positively related to one’s identity goals. We categorize car pride into personal pride and social pride, and hypothesize how car pride interacts with behavioral and socio-economic factors. Using survey data (n = 1389) from Shanghai, we empirically test this framework with a series of structural equation models and discrete choice models. We show that: (1) car pride is weakly associated with socio-economic characteristics; (2) car pride correlates significantly with owning newer, more expensive, and larger cars, and Shanghai’s more expensive local car licenses; (3) car pride plays an important role in people’s future car purchase plans, especially for non-car owners on their first cars; (4) higher car pride is associated with more car use and deters people from reducing future car use; and (5) personal pride and social pride, though highly correlated, have different behavioral implications—while personal pride shows more variation based on socio-economic characteristics, social pride has a stronger correlation with car use. Car pride is an important factor in car ownership and use and should therefore be accounted for in travel behavior studies and mobility management policies.