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An Evolutionary Theory of Household Consumption Behavior


  • Nelson, Richard
  • Consoli, Davide


Evolutionary economics badly needs a behavioral theory of household consumption behavior, but to date only limited progress has been made on that front. Partly because Schumpeter's own writings were focused there, and partly because this has been the focus of most of the more recent empirical work on technological change, modern evolutionary economists have focused on the "supply side". However, because a significant portion of the innovation going on in capitalist countries has been in the form of new consumer goods and services, it should be obvious that dealing coherently with the Schumpeterian agenda requires a theory which treats in a realistic way how consumers respond to new goods and services. The purpose of this essay is to map out a broad alternative to the neoclassical theory of consumer behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Nelson, Richard & Consoli, Davide, 2010. "An Evolutionary Theory of Household Consumption Behavior," MPRA Paper 20197, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20197

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    2. Cowan, Robin & Cowan, William & Swann, Peter, 1997. "A model of demand with interactions among consumers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 711-732, October.
    3. R. Aversi & G. Dosi & G. Fagiolo & M. Meacci & C. Olivetti, 1997. "Demand Dynamics With Socially Evolving Preferences," Working Papers ir97081, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
    4. Richard N. Langlois & Metin M. Cosgel, 1996. "The Organization of Consumption," Working papers 1996-07, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    5. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
    6. Consoli, Davide, 2008. "Co-evolution of capabilities and preferences in the adoption of new technologies," MPRA Paper 7175, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. U. Witt, 2005. "From Sensory to Positivist Utilitarianism and Back -- The Rehabilitation of Naturalistic Conjectures in the Theory of Demand," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2005-07, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    8. Cecilia Chaing & Lindsay McSweeney, 2010. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 6.
    9. Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    10. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132-132.
    11. Giovanni Dosi & Christopher Freeman & Richard Nelson & Gerarld Silverberg & Luc Soete (ed.), 1988. "Technical Change and Economic Theory," LEM Book Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, number dosietal-1988.
    12. Chris Freeman & Luc Soete, 1997. "The Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 3, volume 1, number 0262061953, January.
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    More about this item


    Household Consumption Behaviour; Evolutionary Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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