America! Born in the USA! We love America and the products we make on our own soil, but one study says that blind affection might not be deserved when it comes to clothing, and could actually be preventing us from buying American items. Researchers say that just because an item bears the “Made in America” tag, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re buying the best value or will have to shell out big bucks.
The study conducted at the University of Missouri says consumers place undue value on clothing made in the U.S., when they should really be comparing it to clothing manufactured elsewhere, reports CBS St. Louis.
That rush of patriotism that happens when we espy the America label is influencing consumers too much, say researchers who explain that we should be educating ourselves better about the actual value of said products instead of just reveling in the label. As in, instead of judging books by their covers, we should know exactly how that book was made and how it will hold up.
Researchers say we see American clothing as superior in quality, which isn’t always the case.
“The bigger picture is that consumers over-value the U.S. components of manufactured clothing,” said one of the lead researchers.
In order to come to this finding, researchers showed participants two identical shirts, one with a “made in USA” tag and one without. They were then asked which shirt costs more, and most replied that of course, the American shirt was more expensive.
”[The researcher] showed participants a cotton shirt, told them it was made in China, and said it sold for $40 in retail stores. She then showed them the same piece of clothing and told them it was made in the U.S. with U.S. cotton,” a press release on the school’s website further explained. “The study participants valued the U.S. cotton shirt at $57, which is more than 42 percent higher than the same shirt produced in China.”
Here’s the thing — since most of us like saving money, researchers say most people would buy the shirt made outside of the country to get a deal. So we don’t love America enough to skip a discount, it seems. That could be trouble for U.S. manufacturers who don’t clearly communicate their pricing strategies with consumers, said the study.
Perhaps a new tag could be placed next to the “Made in America” label: “Yes, this was made in America but it’s really not more expensive than that other shirt so you should buy it, please. It’s worth it.”