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Ismael San Miguel

DBA Graduate - 2017

Thesis title

Generation X: The Relationship among Nostalgia Proneness and Economic Perceptions


Caroline Cuny

In following his entrepreneur dreams, Dr. San Miguel was previously a broker-owner affiliated with the world renowned company Remax International, where he was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year and became a Hall of Fame member for his outstanding achievements. After 20 years of significant business experience, he began to pursue a doctorate degree and an academic career. Today, Dr. San Miguel enjoys teaching international business and is the chairperson of the Business Administration Department of the University of Puerto Rico in Ponce.

The use of nostalgia elements in marketing campaigns, mainly aimed at Baby Boomers, individuals born between 1945 and 1964, has produced remarkable results for marketers since the 1990s. A growing number of U. S. advertisers have endeavored to more effectively and efficiently spend marketing dollars in a generational cohort segmentation approach to consumers. These so-called retro-marketing campaigns have proved effective among Baby Boomers; however the theoretical framework related to generational cohorts (i.e., groups of people who people who were raised under similar circumstances, share similar values, and behave similarly as consumers) suggests that other groups, particularly Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1984, may react differently, especially during periods of economic distress. The main variables used in this research are generational cohorts, nostalgia proneness, attitude toward ads, intentions to buy, and economic perceptions. As a theoretical framework, the Social Identity Theory (SIT), the Integrative Model of Nostalgic Preferences, and the Dual Mediation Hypothesis attempt to independently explain how different groups of people (e.g., generational cohorts) may develop different levels of nostalgia proneness, which affect the way such groups react to retro-marketing campaigns. The author also attempts to prove, as suggested in the literature, that individuals’ economic perceptions influence their nostalgia proneness levels. Although the findings of this study do not prove that Baby Boomers and Generation X members have different levels of nostalgia proneness, it was found that the economic perception of individuals affects this characteristic. As hypothesized, the results indicate that individuals with a negative perception of the economy reflect higher levels of nostalgia proneness compared to those that perceive it positively. Also, the nostalgic preferences, in terms of products bought when motivated by nostalgia, of Baby Boomers and Generation X members were found to differ. These differences between two generational cohorts demonstrate the utility of this kind of segmentation. Key words: nostalgia proneness, Generation X, Baby Boomers, generational cohorts, economic perception, attitude toward ads