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Factors influencing consumer behaviour towards store brand: a meta-analysis

Xiaojun Fan, Yi Qian and Pei Huang International Journal of Market Research Vol. 54, No. 3, 2012

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Factors influencing consumer behaviour towards store brand: a meta-analysis Xiaojun Fan, Yi Qian and Pei Huang International Journal of Market Research Vol. 54, No. 3, 2012

Factors influencing consumer behaviour towards store brand: a meta-analysis


Xiaojun Fan Fudan University and Nanjing University of Finance and Economics Yi Qian Northwestern University Pei Huang Fudan University Introduction The creation and maintenance of a store brand, also called a private label or private brand, is one of the most important activities for supermarket retailers. This is because the store brand is the only brand that is available exclusively at the retailers store (Hansen etal.2006). A well-developed store brand not only contributes directly to retailer profitability, but also has positive indirect effects, such as better bargaining power with the manufacturer (Mills 1995) and building store loyalty (Corstjens & Lal 2000). Store brands are one of the most interesting phenomena in North American and European markets. According to the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), nearly one in four products bought in US supermarkets last year was a store brand, and market share rose to all-time record highs of 18.7% dollar share and 23.7% unit share. Throughout Europe, store brands have increased to record levels. They account for at least 40% of all products sold in Switzerland (53%), Spain (42%), the UK (47%), Slovakia (44%) and Germany (41%), and one in every three products sold in Belgium (38%) and France (35%) (PLMA 2010). Given this growth, it is not surprising that the rise of the store brand has generated tremendous interest in the academic literature. Researchers have examined a wide variety of issues relating to store brands. These issues include explaining the conditions for entry of store brands (Raju etal.1995), positioning of store brands (Sayman etal.2002), price competition between national and store brands (Sethuraman 1995), the impact of store brands on retail pricing (Chintagunta 2002), how to estimate store brand shelf space (Gomez & Okazaki 2009), the effect of store brands on channel relationship (Narasimhan & Wilcox 1998), and the influencing factors of store brand success (Dhar & Hoch 1997; Richardson etal.1996; Ailawadi etal. 2001; Rubio & Yague 2009). In all studies involving the influencing factors of store brand success, most of them studied how
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the consumer-related factors influenced store brand success. We focus on explaining why store brands can succeed from a consumer point of view. From the consumer perspective, store brands are quite unique in that they are the only brand that recurs throughout the store; even the largest manufacturers do not come close to the private labels in terms of storewide coverage. Throughout the past two decades, researchers have identified and investigated a large number of consumer factors related to store brands in order to better understand store brand success. From elementary analysis of these studies, it is evident that the literature on the magnitude and direction of consumer behaviour towards store brands is variable in its findings; individual studies do not efficiently explain the consumers purchase willingness or behaviour towards store brands. A thorough, quantitative, meta-analytic review of this research stream should solve these problems and benefit both practitioners and researchers. One of the advantages of meta-analysis is that it improves the power of the study by pooling data across the literature. The research question we tackle here has been studied by various researchers, using different samples. We therefore leverage the power of meta-analysis here to derive some generalisable implications. Through meta-analysis,weaimto:(1)integratequantitativeevaluationofthefactorsofconsumer behaviour towards store brands as one step towards developing an integrated theoretical foundation for the factors of such consumerbehaviour(2)uncoverwhichconsumer-related factors exhibit strong relationships with consumer behaviour towardsstorebrands(3)understandhowmoderatorsinfluencetherelationshipbetweenfactorsandconsumerbehaviour towardsstorebrandsand(4)identifydirectionsforfutureempiricalinvestigationinthisarea. Our meta-analysis of the consumer behaviour literature on store brands first discusses database development. Second, we present a theoretical framework to guide the meta-analysis. Third, we use the meta-analysis to generate a quantitative summary of the mean values and the range of effects of factors on consumer behaviour towards store brands. Fourth, we use subgroup analyses to provide insights into market context, product category characteristics, and data types that moderate the influence of factors on consumer behaviour towards store brands. We conclude with a discussion of managerial implications and future research directions. Database development To ensure the representativeness and completeness of the database, we identify the key impetus for research on consumer behaviour towards store brands as the seminal Rao (1969); so we search all empirical research involving the factors of consumer behaviour towards store brand over the period 19692010. We employ the following methods in our literature search:(1)asearchoftheABI/INFORM,ScienceDirectandWilsonBusinessAbstracts,forstudiespublishedusingthe keywords store brand, private label, private brandand own brand, then identify those papers that relate to consumer behaviourtowardsstorebrands(2)asearchoftheSocialSciencesCitationIndexforstudiesthatrefertothethreemost highly cited articles in the store brand literature (i.e. Rao 1969; Hoch & Banerji 1993; Richardsonetal. 1996), then identifying thosepapersrelatedtoconsumerbehaviourtowardsstorebrands(3)issue-by-issue searches of representative marketing journals on consumer behaviour, including the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Retailing and Marketing Lettersand(4)asearch of working papers through SSRN and major conferences. We have posted a request at the major conferences or email-list for unpublished papers, and sent emails to request the correlation matrix for these authors who have a paper related to my topic but did not report them. The motivation for trying to locate all of the published research on the topic in a meta-analysis is primarily to avoid potential biases due to searching only major journal publications. These journals may selectively publish only the results characterised by lower p values and larger effect sizes (Rosenthal 1995). Our search generated more than 130 published and unpublished studies. Although we conducted a comprehensive search, we might have omitted some studies
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unintentionally. Since published articles have been screened through the peer review process, we followed prior literature in excluding conference papers, working papers and dissertations from our sample (Chen etal.2010). Then, we selected studies for inclusion in the meta-analysis on the basis of two criteria. First, the meta-analysis includes only studies that report the r-family of effects (i.e. correlation coefficients or their variants (Rosenthal 1994)). Second, we include only articles that measure the consumer-related factors of store brand success, so that results from research with vastly divergent goals are not aggregated (Franke 2001). On completion of the search process in February 2010, we obtained a total of 149 effects from 51 independent samples, reported in 48 studies, tabulated in the Appendix table. We try to focus on high-quality studies; 39 of all 48 studies were published in top journals. Conceptual framework We identify many constructs with similar definitions that operate under different terms. Thus, we use a single construct definition (see Table 1) to code the existing research. We include a construct in the conceptual framework only if at least five effects emerge to support its empirical analysis. Of all 47 factors investigated, only 22 meet these criteria and appear in the model. We develop the conceptual framework in three parts on the basis of the extant research on consumer behaviour towards store brands.

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Pattern of consumer behaviour towards store brands There are two types of consumer behaviour towards store brands: one is store brand proneness and the other is store brand purchase. Store brand proneness explains the probability of store brand purchase; it is widely used in most survey-type studies about consumer behaviour towards store brands (Sethuraman & Cole 1999; Manzuretal. 2011). Store brand purchase means an actual purchase, and this term is used in studies about consumer behaviour towards store brands that employ consumer panel data (Erdem etal. 2004; Francisco etal.2006; Hansenetal. 2006). Factors of consumer behaviour towards store brands Researchers have discussed the factors of consumer behaviour towards store brands, and their influence on store brand proneness or store brand purchase has been investigated extensively. Based on previous work and factor characteristics, for clarity, we reorganise all factors of consumer behaviour towards store brands into four groups: consumer socio-demographics, consumer shopping habits, consumer consciousness and consumer perception of store brands. Consumer socio-demographics Some studies find that store brands are more widely used by younger consumers (Omar 1996), while others find no significant
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relationship between age and store brand proneness (Burtonetal. 1998; Eva & Teresa 2008). With respect to household income, some results are contradictory. Richardsonetal. (1996) observed that households with low economic resources are more sensitive to store brands. However, Dick etal.(1995) find a curvilinear relationship in which the households most sensitive to store brands are those with average income. With respect to education, higher sensitivity is detected in those less educated (Omar 1996), whereas in others there is no significant relationship (Richardsonetal. 1996). The only variable showing consistent results in all studies is household size: households with more members buy store brands more frequently (Omar 1996; Richardsonetal. 1996). Consumer shopping habit We define consumer shopping habit as the consistent conduct formed over a history of long-term shopping. Store loyalty can increase the purchasing probabilities of store brands (Dicketal. 1995; Manzuretal. 2011). However, Goodhardt etal. (1984) found that split loyalty of outlets is the norm through the Dirichlet model. Regarding national brand loyalty, consumers loyal to manufacturer brands attach greater importance to product attributes than to price, and so present a less favourable attitude towards store brands (Garretson etal.2002), and thus are less prone to buy them (Baltas & Doyle 1998). However, Eva and Teresa (2008) demonstrate that there is no significant relationship between national brand loyalty and store brand proneness. Consumers who are deal prone also may have a favourable attitude towards private labels (Lichtenstein etal.1993). Innovators may feel attracted to store brands (Jin & Suh 2005), but Eva and Teresa (2008) find that innovativeness is actually not related to store brand proneness. On impulsiveness, Burtonetal. (1998) find a negative relationship between attitude towards store brands and impulsiveness. However, Ailawadietal. (2001) do not find a significant relationship between impulsiveness and store brand usage. As for the influence of familiarity, Richardsonetal. (1996) argue that, as consumers become more familiar with store brands, the perceived risk associated with store brands will decline, thereby increasing purchase probability; Mieres etal.(2006) reach similar conclusions. Consumer consciousness Consumer consciousness is the determining evaluating criterion with respect to store brands. As store brands have lower prices than national brands, price-conscious consumers will have a positive attitude towards them (Omar 1996; Burtonetal. 1998; Hansenetal. 2006). Despite an ongoing change in consumer thinking, the market has traditionally perceived store brands to have lower quality than national brands. Consequently, quality-conscious consumers will be less prone to store brands (Richardson etal.1994). Value-conscious shoppers typically attempt to maximise the quality/price ratio of their purchases. These shoppers may therefore choose store brands if the lower price sufficiently compensates for the lower perceived quality (Richardsonetal. 1994; Garretsonetal. 2002). But Jin and Suh (2005) find no significant effect from value consciousness on private brand purchase intention in the appliance industry. Drawing from pricequality association theory, a low price for store brands may be perceived as an indication of inferior overall quality. Consequently, a pricequality association will negatively impact attitudes towards private labels (Garretsonetal. 2002). Perceptions of store brands Generally, the price of store brands is negatively related to store brand proneness (Baltas 2003), but for some specific products the price of store brands has no significant influence on store brand proneness (Dick etal.1996; Franciscoetal. 2006). The influence of the price difference between national brands and store brands on store brand success may be positive or not significant (Sethuraman & Cole 1999; Cudmore 2000). The literature reveals that the perceived quality of store brands

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is positively related to store brand proneness (Mieresetal. 2006; Liljander etal.2009). Most researchers argue that the quality variation in store brands reduces store brand proneness (Richardsonetal. 1996; Erdemetal. 2004), but other researchers have found no significant influence (Baltas & Doyle 1998; Jin & Suh 2005). Consumers who manifest higher aversion to risk will show a lower preference for store brands and they will buy national brands as a way of reducing risk (Richardsonetal. 1996; Erdemetal. 2004). Perceived value for money has been shown to positively affect consumer willingness to buy store brands (Richardson etal. 1994; Omar 1996). Search attributes refer to tangible features that are verifiable prior to product purchase, whereas experience attributes refer to not-easily-described features that can be confirmed only through product use. Consumers prefer national brands to store brands in product categories where they cannot rely on the product packaging information to accurately assess product quality. Therefore, including sufficient search attributes should increase consumer store brand proneness. Batra and Sinha (2000) show that search and experience are positively related to store brand purchase decisions. The consequences of making a purchase mistake on a store brand are that consumers regard store brands as being inferior to national brands on reliability, prestige and quality attributes (Bellizzietal. 1981). When consumers realise that purchasing the wrong brand may have important negative consequences, they become more likely to buy national brands (Baltas 1997). In contrast, Batra and Sinha (2000) find no significant link in their initial analysis between the consequences of a purchase mistake and store brand. Moderators of the relationship between factors and consumer behaviour towards store brands The relationship between factors and consumer behaviour towards store brands that can be conceptualised herein, can also be applied across many different contexts in which moderators may have varying effects. Many studies show that market context, data type and product category have significant influence on the relationship between factors and consumer behaviour towards store brands (Ailawadietal. 2001; Erdemetal. 2004; Hansenetal. 2006). Consistent with prior metaanalyses, we focus on data type and sample characteristics as moderators of the relationship between factors and consumer behaviour towards store brands (Table 2).

Quantitative summary of bivariate relationships The bivariate correlations between consumer behaviour towards store brands and its factors are summarised in Table 3. In total, we collected 143 effect sizes for the factors. Because studies will differ with respect to mix of participants and in implementation of interventions, among other characteristics, there may be different effect sizes underlying different studies (Borensteinetal. 2009). We adopt a random-effects meta-analysis to compute the corrected mean-effect size.

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In terms of socio-demographic factors, only household size (r = +0.069, p < 0.05) is consistent with traditional hypotheses, and has significant and positive influence on consumer behaviour towards store brands, but its impact is weak. The impacts of age, education level and household income on consumer behaviour towards store brands are not significant. Among shopping habit factors, deal proneness and impulsiveness have no significant influence on consumer behaviour towards store brands. The evidence also shows a significant and positive association between consumer behaviour towards store brands and store loyalty (r = +0.149, p < 0.05), innovativeness (r = +0.115, p < 0.05) and familiarity with store brands (r = +0.0360, p < 0.05). Familiarity with store brands has a relatively strong impact on consumer behaviour. Brand loyalty to
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national brands (r = 0.201, p < 0.05) influences consumer behaviour negatively and moderately. The association between consumer consciousness and consumer behaviour towards store brands has been examined frequently. All consumer consciousness factors significantly influence consumer behaviour. Price consciousness (r = +0.370, p < 0.05) and value consciousness (r = +0.189, p < 0.05) each have a positive impact on consumer behaviour, and price consciousness has a relatively strong influence on consumer behaviour towards store brands. Pricequality consciousness (r = 0.151, p < 0.05) and quality consciousness (r = 0.276, p < 0.05) negatively influence consumer behaviour. In terms of the consumer perceptions of store brands, the following variables all have significant and positive influences on consumer behaviour: perceived quality of store brands (r = +0.339, p < 0.05), perceived value for money of store brands (r = +0.190, p < 0.05) and search vs experience (r = +0.104, p < 0.05). At the same time, price of store brands (r = 0.028, p < 0.05) and the consequences of making a mistake in a purchase (r = 0.174, p < 0.05) influence consumer behaviour significantly and negatively. The influence of perceived quality variation in store brands, price differences between store brands and national brands, and perceived risk of store brands on consumer behaviour, is not significant. In summary, on the whole, these four factors (price consciousness, quality consciousness, familiarity with store brands and perceived quality of store brands) are the most important factors significantly influencing consumer behaviour. Although the influence of household size is significant, it is very weak. We discussed the file drawer problem in Table 3. More recently, Mullen etal.(2001) proposed to monitor this rule of thumb by computing the failsafe ratio.1 If this ratio exceeds 1, they argue, the weight of evidence does appear to be sufficiently tolerant for future results(Mullenetal.2001,p.1454).Exceptfortheratiosofdealpronenessandinnovativeness,alltheotherratios in our study exceed 1, suggesting that the majority of findings in our meta-analysis are reasonably robust to the file drawer problem. Moderators of the relationship between factors and consumer behaviour towards store brand In Table 4, we present the influence of moderating factors on the factors of consumer behaviour towards store brands. It is evident that there are three moderators influencing the factors of consumer behaviour: market context, category characteristics and data type.

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Market context The influence of household size is evident with respect to consumer behaviour in the American market (r = +0.112), which is stronger than in the European market (r = +0.033); the influence of store loyalty on consumer behaviour is also significantly stronger in the American market (r = +0.173) than in the European market (r = +0.137). However, the influences of national brand loyalty in the American market (r = 0.198) and the European market (r = 0.204) are roughly equal. Familiarity with store brands has a greater influence on consumer behaviour in the American market (r = +0.505) than in the European market (r = +0.245). Price consciousness, significantly, has the most positive influence on consumer behaviour in the European market (r = +0.536), followed by other markets (r = +0.322), and finally by the American market (r = +0.271). The high level of price consciousness in the European market can explain the success of store brands there. The influence of quality consciousness is greatest, but not significant in the European market (r = 0.307). On the contrary, such influence in other markets is smaller and significant (r = 0.222). The influence of value consciousness on consumer behaviour is weaker in the American market (r = +0.176) than in other markets (r = +0.285), and is significant. The influence of perceived value for money on store brands is weaker in the American market ( r = +0.126) than in the European market (r = +0.239). Product category

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Product category may moderate the results of factors influencing consumer behaviour towards store brands. The moderating effect of categories on the influence of household size is not significant. The negative influence of national brand loyalty for food (r = 0.271) is stronger than for grocery (r = 0.179), and is significant. Familiarity with store brand has a weaker positive influence for food (r = +0.271) than for grocery (r = +0.416), and the moderating effect is significant. The positive influence of price consciousness for food (r = +0.507) is significantly stronger than for grocery (r = +0.330) and other categories (r = +0.267), but the positive influence of price consciousness for other categories is not significant. The positive influence of value consciousness for grocery (r = +0.176) is weaker than for food (r = +0.290) and other categories (r = +0.280), and is significant. The perceived risk of store brand has weaker negative influence for grocery (r = 0.138) than for other categories (r = 0.252), and is significant. The positive influence of perceived value for money on store brands for grocery (r = +0.146) is significantly weaker than for other categories (r = +0.380). Type of collected data We find that data type has a significant moderating effect for the influences of some factors (including store loyalty, national brand loyalty, familiarity with store brand, price consciousness, price of store brand and consequence of making a mistake in a purchase) on consumer behaviour. The influence of household size for survey data (r = +0.072) is slightly higher than for panel data (r = +0.066), and is significant. The positive influence of store loyalty for survey data (r = +0.177) is stronger than for panel data (r = +0.053). Familiarity with a store brand has a stronger positive influence for survey data (r = +0.416) than for panel data (r = +0.271). The price of store brands has stronger negative influence for survey data (r = 0.129) and a stronger influence than panel data (r = 0.017). These results show that some factors (household size, store loyalty, familiarity with store brand and price of store brand) have stronger influence for survey data than for panel data. On the contrary, we find that some factors have weaker influence for survey data than for panel data. The negative influence of national brand loyalty for survey data (r = 0.179) is weaker than for panel data (r = 0.271); the positive influence of price consciousness for survey data (r = +0.324) is weaker than for panel data (r = +0.638); and the negative influence of making a mistake in a purchase for survey data (r = 0.137) is weaker than for panel data (r = 0.245). Conclusions We use a meta-analysis to study 22 frequently discussed factors of consumer behaviour towards store brands. From the bivariate relationships analysis, we find that price consciousness, quality consciousness, familiarity with store brand and perceived quality of store brands are the four most important factors that significantly influence consumer behaviour towards store brand. For all of the factor results that contradicted existing studies, the result of the meta-analysis showed that age, education level, house income, impulsiveness, and price differentiation between national brands and store brands have no influence on store brand success; brand loyalty on national brand and pricequality association have negative influence on store brand success; innovativeness and value consciousness have positive influence on store brand success. The nonsignificant influence of price differentiation between national brands and store brands is outside of our expectations. The reason for this is that the influence of price differentiation between national brands and store brands on consumer behaviour using cross-category data can be just the opposite of the relationship that actually exists within a category. Our findings show that three moderators (market context, product category and data type) have significant influence for some factors of consumer behaviour towards store brand linkages. Managerial implications
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For retailers, it is necessary to maintain low-price store brand strategies to attract price-conscious consumers and to discourage them from switching back to national brands in the long term. Because quality consciousness negatively influences consumer behaviour significantly, to improve the competitive position of store brands, a quality focus may be useful. From the results of the negative influence of pricequality associations on consumer behaviour towards store brands, retailers should be quite careful in promoting the benefits of their store brands, since some consumers may view low store brand prices as a cue that store brands are of inferior quality, and this may dissuade shoppers who might otherwise try store brands. National brand loyalty reduces consumer proneness towards store brands significantly. For national brand manufacturers, it may not be wise to compete with store brands through price promotion because it is difficult to overcome the price differential with store brands. In addition, price promotion may have a negative impact on brand success once the promotion is removed. The best way to differentiate national brands from store brands is through superior quality, and the use of extrinsic cues such as brand image and innovation. Retailers should also note that the influences of consumer-related factors on store brand success vary across the market context tested in the moderator analysis. Evidently, the influences of some factors of consumer behaviour towards store brands differ across markets. Retailers, especially international retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour, should pay more attention to individual market differences when they provide store brands in different markets. Retailers should provide different types of store brand in accordance with category characteristics. For example, premium store brands are preferred over classic and generic private-label products in high social risk categories. In this study, we find that category characteristics moderate how some factors influence consumer behaviour, such as consumers being more concerned about quality of home appliances than quality of food. Therefore, retailers need to adjust marketing strategies in different categories. Future research directions Based on the evidence generated from the meta-analysis, research has made significant progress towards understanding consumer behaviour with respect to store brands. However, despite this progress, there are several gaps in knowledge about how and to what extent the factors influence consumer behaviour in different markets and different categories, thus suggesting avenues for future research. Most studies focus on consumer consciousness (i.e. price consciousness, quality consciousness and value consciousness). Other factors (even some of the high-impact factors in our framework, i.e. store loyalty and familiarity with store brand) appear in relatively few primary studies, which suggests that there is a need for additional research. Future research should pay more attention to the interaction effects among factors. Store brands in the American and European markets attracted greater attention from researchers, but store brands in other markets (e.g. Asia) attracted relatively little attention. As an emerging consumer market, China deserves more attention from scholars. Even if store brands in this market have not been successful until now, it is still valuable to study why store brands have not succeeded in this market. Through the moderating analysis of market context, we can know the differing influences of factors of consumer behaviour, but we cannot explain why store brands are so successful in some European country markets and unsuccessful in other country markets. Perhaps overlooked cultural differences might partially account for the differing performances of store brands in different markets. Future research could undertake comparison studies of store brands among different markets to understand the role that culture plays. There are three kinds of positioning strategy for store brands namely, me-too strategy, value innovator strategyand
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premium strategy. We are unable to distinguish the positioning strategy of store brands from existing studies. However, for different positioning strategies towards store brands, consumer behaviour towards store brands may be very different; for example, the consumer is sensitive to the price of me-too strategy store brands, while not sensitive to the price of premium strategy store brands. In future research, it will be necessary to distinguish the different positioning strategies of store brands. In addition, accounting for category characteristics, premium strategies seem promising in certain categories. For others, a metoo positioning strategy is more favourable. Consequently, it would be an interesting research direction to test how the relationship between category characteristics and store brand positioning strategy influences consumer behaviour towards store brands. Acknowledgements The authors are grateful for funding support from NSFC (70602023) and NSFC (70972142).

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About the authors Xiaojun Fan is associate professor at the school of marketing and logistics management, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics. His research focuses on channel strategy and brand management. Yi Qian is assistant professor at Kellogg school of management, Northwestern University. Her research focuses on brand management. Pei Huang is professor at the school of management, Fudan University. His research focuses on channel strategy and marketing model. Addresscorrespondenceto:XiaojunFan,Room401,Building42,No.51,BeijingEastRoad,Nanjing,China,210007. Email: ardourfan@gmail.com; or Pei Huang, School of Management, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, 200433. Email: huangpei@fudan.edu.cn
1 N/(5k + 10) (N = the file drawer number, k = the number of observed studies).

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