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The History of an Inferior Good: Beer Consumption in Germany

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  • Benjamin Volland

Abstract

The question whether alcohol in general, and different types of alcoholic beverages in particular (e.g., beer) are normal or inferior goods is a heavily disputed issue within economics and health research. Based on recently developed theories of preference adjustment this paper argues that the answer to this question may not be independent of the level of income itself. It therefore applies a gradual switching regression approach to aggregate beer consumption data in Germany from 1957 to 2007. This method allows elasticities to change over time, without prior specifications of the time and speed of adjustments. Results suggest that an important behavioral change is present in the data, as elasticities of beer demand shifted considerably between 1965 and 2004. In particular, they demonstrate that over this period beer shifted from being a normal to being an inferior good.

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Volland, 2013. "The History of an Inferior Good: Beer Consumption in Germany," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-19, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2012-19
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    File URL: ftp://137.248.191.199/RePEc/esi/discussionpapers/2012-19.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Beer demand; Inferior goods; Gradual switching regression;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes

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