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Comparing international consumption patterns

  • Kenneth Clements


  • Yanrui Wu
  • Jing Zhang

When attempting to identify empirical regularities in consumption patterns, their tremendous diversity across countries represents both a major opportunity and challenge. For example, consumers in rich countries devote less than 20 percent of their budget to food, while this rises to more than 50 percent in the poorest countries. This paper uses a major new database released in Selvanathan and Selvanathan (2003) to explore several related issues, including the extent to which the consumption basket is diversified and how this changes with income, whether a simple utility-maximising model is capable of explaining the diversity of consumption patterns internationally, the measurement of the extent to which tastes differ across countries, and how the world can be partitioned into groups of countries with minimal within-group heterogeneity of tastes on the basis of the revealed preference of consumers.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Empirical Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-30

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Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:31:y:2006:i:1:p:1-30
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  1. Lluch, Constantino & Powell, Alan, 1975. "International comparisons of expenditure patterns," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 275-303, July.
  2. Kenneth W. Clements & Yanrui Wu & Jing Zhang, 2004. "Comparing International Consumption Patterns," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 04-04, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  3. John Williamson, 1994. "Estimating Equilibrium Exchange Rates," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 17.
  4. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  5. Ronald MacDonald & Peter B. Clark, 1998. "Exchange Rates and Economic Fundamentals: A Methodological Comparison of BEERs and FEERs," IMF Working Papers 98/67, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Seale, James L., Jr. & Regmi, Anita & Bernstein, Jason, 2003. "International Evidence On Food Consumption Patterns," Technical Bulletins 33580, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  7. Barten, Anton P, 1977. "The Systems of Consumer Demand Functions Approach: A Review," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 23-51, January.
  8. Keller, W.J. & Van Driel, J., 1985. "Differential consumer demand systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 375-390.
  9. K.W. Clements & E.A. Selvanathan & S. Selvanathan, 1996. "Applied Demand Analysis: A survey," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 96-04, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  10. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  11. K.W. Clements & D. Chen, 1994. "Fundamental Similarities in Consumer Behaviour," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 94-03, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  12. Laidler, David, 1991. "The Quantity Theory Is Always and Everywhere Controversial--Why?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 67(199), pages 289-306, December.
  13. MacDonald, Ronald, 2000. "Concepts to Calculate Equilibrium Exchange Rates: An Overview," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2000,03, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
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