Karen Winterich


Professor of Marketing,
Frank and Mary Smeal Research Fellow


  • Sustainability & Environment
  • Business

Focus Areas:

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Marketing

In The Media:


  • Winterich has expertise in the following topic areas: identity, prosocial behavior, unethical behavior, sustainability, cultural differences (power distance) and emotions

Karen Winterich conducts research in the area of consumer behavior with much of her work examining how consumers’ social identities influence charitable giving as well as (im)moral and sustainable behavior.

In The Media

When it comes to making decisions about recycling, there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about what makes a product sustainable, according to Karen Page Winterich, a marketing professor at Penn State. Her research and teaching focuses on consumer behavior, primarily customer behavior about sustainability.

“These studies provide compelling evidence that when consumers consider that recyclables are transformed into something new, they recycle more,” said Karen Page Winterich, the first author of the study. “Increased recycling offers not only societal and environmental benefits, but also provides the source materials companies need for sustainable production of goods in a circular economy.”

Co-author Karen Winterich, associate professor of marketing at Pennsylvania State University, says the project started when she realized she was keeping an old pair of basketball shorts “just because they reminded me of beating a major rival basketball team in junior high.” “I didn’t want the shorts—I wanted the memory of winning that game, and that’s what I thought of when I saw the shorts,” Winterich adds. “A picture can easily mark that memory for me, and I can donate the shorts so someone else can use them, which is even better.”

“There are lots of things we hold on to, not because of the item usefulness or monetary value, but because the items have sentimental value,” said study co-author Karen Page Winterich, an associate professor of marketing at Penn State.

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