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Back to Engel? Some evidence for the hierarchy of needs

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  • Andreas Chai

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  • Alessio Moneta

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Abstract

Using UK household expenditure data spanning over four decades (1960–2000), this paper employs Engel’s needs-based approach to analyzing household expenditure patterns and finds evidence for the existence of a stable hierarchy of expenditure patterns at low levels of household income. Second, we investigate how rising household income influences the manner in which total expenditure is distributed across Engel’s expenditure categories. Our results suggest that i) total household expenditure is distributed across Engel’s expenditure categories in an increasingly even manner as household income increases and ii) over time, there has been an acceleration in the rate at which household expenditure patterns become diversified as household income rises. Finally, we consider how the shape of Engel Curves may help shed light on the relationship between goods and the underlying needs they serve. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Chai & Alessio Moneta, 2012. "Back to Engel? Some evidence for the hierarchy of needs," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 649-676, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:22:y:2012:i:4:p:649-676
    DOI: 10.1007/s00191-012-0283-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Kaus, Wolfhard, 2013. "Beyond Engel's law - A cross-country analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 118-134.
    3. Andreas Chai, 2017. "Tackling Keynes’ question: a look back on 15 years of Learning To Consume," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 251-271, April.
    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.
    5. Andreas Chai, 2018. "Household consumption patterns and the sectoral composition of growing economies: A review of the interlinkages," Discussion Papers in Economics economics:201802, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
    6. Mattia Iotti & Giuseppe Bonazzi, 2016. "Assessment of Biogas Plant Firms by Application of Annual Accounts and Financial Data Analysis Approach," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(9), pages 1-19, September.
    7. Andreas Chai & Nicholas Rohde & Jacques Silber, 2015. "Measuring The Diversity Of Household Spending Patterns," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 423-440, July.
    8. Pier-Paolo Saviotti & Andreas Pyka, 2017. "Innovation, structural change and demand evolution: does demand saturate?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 337-358, April.
    9. Fouquet, Roger, 2014. "Long run demand for energy services: income and price elasticities over two hundred years," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59070, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Roger Fouquet, 2013. "Long Run Demand for Energy Services: the Role of Economic and Technological Development," Working Papers 2013-03, BC3.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hierarchy of needs; Engel curves; Engel’s law; B23; B25; C14; D12;

    JEL classification:

    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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