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The decline of relational goods in the production of well-being?

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  • Prinz, Aloys
  • Bünger, Björn
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    Abstract

    In this paper, we attempt to show why the importance of relational goods compared to conventional goods and status goods threatens to decline in contemporary societies. In our point of view, the development of the relative significance of these three types of goods is not a consequence of preference changes but of significant alterations in the opportunity costs of time. Increases of labor productivity in the industrial sector lead to higher time opportunity costs that reduce the demand for highly time-consuming activities as relational goods. Furthermore, the demand for status goods may increase in societies that grow rich as these goods can be bought to a large extent on the market and serve physical as well as psycho-social well-being. As shown empirically, there exist influences of the availability of free time on meeting friends and on life satisfaction. However, for the European countries represented in the dataset, we cannot find evidence yet for a crowding out of relational goods by status goods. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM), University of Münster in its series CAWM Discussion Papers with number 21.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cawmdp:21

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    Keywords: conventional; relational and status goods; time opportunity costs; production of wellbeing; life satisfaction;

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    1. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6944, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jungmin Lee, 2007. "Stressed Out on Four Continents: Time Crunch or Yuppie Kvetch?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 374-383, May.
    3. Richard Layard & Guy Mayraz & Stephen Nickell, 2007. "The Marginal Utility of Income," CEP Discussion Papers dp0784, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Value Surveys," Working Papers, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics 89, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
    5. Bruno S. Frey & Christine Benesch & Alois Stutzer, . "Does watching TV make us happy?," IEW - Working Papers 241, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Franses,Philip Hans & Paap,Richard, 2010. "Quantitative Models in Marketing Research," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521143653.
    7. Jeremy Greenwood & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Hours Worked: Long-Run Trends," NBER Working Papers 11629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Robert Goodin & James Rice & Michael Bittman & Peter Saunders, 2005. "The Time-Pressure Illusion: Discretionary Time vs. Free Time," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 43-70, 08.
    9. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Watching alone: Relational Goods, Television and Happiness," Working Papers, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics 90, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
    10. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2002. "Engines of Liberation," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports, Economie d'Avant Garde 2, Economie d'Avant Garde.
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    Cited by:
    1. Lotito, Gianna & Migheli, Matteo & Ortona, Guido, 2011. "An experimental inquiry into the nature of relational goods," POLIS Working Papers, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS 160, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.

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