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Evolutionary demand: a model for boundedly rational consumers

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  • Marco Valente

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Abstract

The paper is based on the acknowledgement that properties of markets stemming from features of demand are too frequently overlooked in the economic literature, particularly among evolutionary scholars. The overall goal is to show that “demand matters” to understand properly observed properties of markets not only because of its exogenous (i.e. non-economic) features, but also because of aspects of consumers’ behavior that fully deserve to be considered in the domain of economics. The paper presents a general model of the consumer based on a bounded rational decision algorithm. The model is shown to be compatible with available evidence on consumers’ behavior and adaptable for theoretical as well as empirical applications. The description of the proposed model’s components provides the opportunity to discuss a number of issues the importance of which for the analysis of markets of markets becomes evident taking a demand-oriented perspective. Among these, we propose a formal definition of preferences meant as decision criteria used by consumers and distinct from the actual decisions made by consumers at each purchasing occasion. We also highlight the potential role of firms’ marketing in shaping consumers’ preferences, suggesting an endogenous channel of influence on consumers’ preferences which is possibly highly relevant in certain markets. We use the model to show that the proposed model can easily replicate a generic market demand function, with the advantage of more robust foundations and greater flexibility in respect of standard consumer theory. We also show that limiting to consider distributional properties of markets, neglecting the type of demand, may lead to serious errors of interpretation. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2012

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 22 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 (November)
Pages: 1029-1080

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:22:y:2012:i:5:p:1029-1080

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Related research

Keywords: Evolutionary economics; Consumer theory; Bounded rationality; Marketing and preferences; Simulation models; Market structure; C63; D11; D81; L10; L15; M30;

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References

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  1. Gallouj, Faiz & Weinstein, Olivier, 1997. "Innovation in services," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 537-556, December.
  2. Pier Paolo Saviotti, 2001. "special issue: Variety, growth and demand," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 119-142.
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  8. Marco Valente, 2009. "Markets fo Heterogeneous Products: a Boundedly Rational Consumer Model," LEM Papers Series 2009/11, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  9. Windrum, Paul & Birchenhall, Chris, 1998. "Is product life cycle theory a special case? Dominant designs and the emergence of market niches through coevolutionary-learning," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 109-134, March.
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  11. Smallwood, Dennis E & Conlisk, John, 1979. "Product Quality in Markets Where Consumers are Imperfectly Informed," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 1-23, February.
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  18. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:i:4:p:861-886 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. João Bernardino & Tanya Araújo, 2013. "On positional consumption and technological innovation: an agent-based model," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(5), pages 1047-1071, November.
  2. 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.
  3. Anaïs Carlin, 2013. "Modeling Luxury Consumption: An Inter-Income Classes Study of Demand Dynamics and Social Behaviors," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-13, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, revised May 2014.
  4. Leonhard Lades, 2013. "Explaining shapes of Engel curves: the impact of differential satiation dynamics on consumer behavior," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(5), pages 1023-1045, November.

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