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special issue: Learning to consume - A theory of wants and the growth of demand

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  • Ulrich Witt

    ()
    (Max-Planck-Institute for Research Into Economic Systems, Evolutionary Economics Unit, Kahlaische Stra, e 10, 07745 Jena, Germany)

Abstract

The theory of economic growth takes little notice of what is happening on the demand side of the markets so that ever more goods and services can be sold. In order to make progress, this paper revives a classical notion in economics, the concept of wants, and re-casts it in terms of a behavioral theory. Hypotheses are discussed concerning the wants people pursue, the changes in these wants, and the corresponding consumption knowledge. The implications derived focus on why, in spite of the historically unique growth of per capita income in the modern economies, consumption has not been altogether satiated. In the suggested explanation, increasing variety of consumption items offered in the markets and increasing specialization of the consumers in their demand activities play a key role.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 23-36

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:11:y:2001:i:1:p:23-36

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Cited by:
  1. Andreas Chai, 2010. "Consumer specialization and the Romantic transformation of the British Grand Tour of Europe," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-08, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  2. Ulrich Witt, 2013. "Cultural Evolution, Economic Growth and Human Welfare - A Drift Process?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-20, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  3. Patriarca, Fabrizio & Vona, Francesco, 2013. "Structural change and income distribution: An inverted-U relationship," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1641-1658.
  4. Binder, Martin & Lades, Leonhard, 2014. "Autonomy-enhancing paternalism," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers, University of Stirling, Division of Economics 2014-09, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  5. Christian Schubert & Andreas Chai, 2012. "Sustainable Consumption and Consumer Sovereignty," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-14, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  6. Christian Cordes, 2014. "There are several ways to incorporate evolutionary concepts into economic thinking," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2014-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  7. Andreas Chai & Alessio Moneta, 2012. "Back to Engel? Some evidence for the hierarchy of needs," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 649-676, September.
  8. Benjamin Volland, 2013. "The History of an Inferior Good: Beer Consumption in Germany," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-19, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  9. Vanessa OLTRA & Maïder SAINT JEAN, 2009. "Environmental Innovations and Industrial Dynamics (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée 2009-22, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  10. Andreas Chai & Wolfhard Kaus, 2013. "Signalling to whom? Conspicuous spending and the local density of the social group income distribution," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-18, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  11. Christian Schubert, 2014. "“Generalized Darwinism” and the quest for an evolutionary theory of policy-making," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 479-513, July.
  12. Martin Binder, 2013. "Subjective Well-being Capabilities: Bridging the Gap between the Capability Approach and Subjective Well-Being Research," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2013-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  13. Thomas Grebel, 2012. "Network evolution in basic science," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 443-457, July.
  14. Wolfhard Kaus, 2012. "Beyond Engel s Law - Pursuing an Engelian Approach to Welfare A Cross Country Analysis," Jena Economic Research Papers 2012-028, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  15. Leonhard K. Lades, 2012. "The impact of differential satiation dynamics on changing consumer behavior, wellbeing, and innovative activity," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-16, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  16. Martin Binder, 2014. "Should evolutionary economists embrace libertarian paternalism?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 515-539, July.
  17. Benjamin Volland, 2012. "The vertical transmission of time use choices," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.

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