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Reference Groups And Household Consumption: Evidence From Turkey

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  • Ünay Tamgaç Tezcan

    (TOBB University of Economics and Technology, Department of Economics,)

Abstract

It is well-known that relative concern influences many economic choices, including consumption decisions. Recently, several studies have linked the gradually falling savings rate in the United States since the 1980s with both relative concern and increased inequality. In this paper, we test for the presence of relative concern (i.e., peer effects) in consumption decisions for Turkey. In particular, we test whether households are affected by the purchases of other households who constitute their reference group. This is one of the few studies that investigate relative concern in a developing-country setting. Drawing on nationally representative data from the Turkish Household Budget Survey for the years 2003-2012, we examine different reference groups comprised of members having the same education level, urban-rural residence status, or age range. We find that the hypothesis is validated and that non-rich households are affected by perceiving the consumption of more prosperous individuals of the same educational background. However, we do not observe any group effects for upper-income households.

Suggested Citation

  • Ünay Tamgaç Tezcan, 2016. "Reference Groups And Household Consumption: Evidence From Turkey," Ekonomi-tek - International Economics Journal, Turkish Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 71-107, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:tek:journl:v:5:y:2016:i:1:p:71-107
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Household expenditures; reference group; peer effects; developing country; Turkey;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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