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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ulrich Witt, 2001. "special issue: Learning to consume - A theory of wants and the growth of demand," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 23-36.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:11:y:2001:i:1:p:23-36
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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