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On the Arbitrariness of Consumption

Author

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  • John Whalley
  • Shunming Zhang

Abstract

We discuss a simple model of choices of joint consumption by a working couple who place maintenance of their marriage (relationship) above all else. Any proposal made by one partner seeking to provide maximal utility to the other so as to preserve the marriage, in the case where preferences of partners are unknown, will be accepted. In this sense consumption is arbitrary. In a concluding section we suggest that while overly simple; this structure may characterize to some degree significant amounts of observed consumption, emphasing how social arrangements and the value placed on them by individuals can impact on observed economic behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • John Whalley & Shunming Zhang, 2009. "On the Arbitrariness of Consumption," CESifo Working Paper Series 2566, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2566
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2566.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Waldfogel, Joel, 1993. "The Deadweight Loss of Christmas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1328-1336, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerasimos T. SOLDATOS, 2015. "Law, Coercion And Socioeconomic Equilibrium," Review of Economic and Business Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, issue 16, pages 39-50, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    values; preferences; lexicographic; relationship; partners;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C50 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - General
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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