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Materialism and Economic Progress

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Abstract

Most empirical studies on the impact of materialism have focused on its effects at the micro-level, such as on individual wellbeing. This paper explores one of the macroeconomic impacts of materialism: its relationship with economic progress. A new conceptualization of materialism based on self-identity construction is offered and used to hypothesize that materialism drives economic progress by encouraging consumption and innovation. This analysis is tested using a survey item from the World Values Survey as an index for materialism. The empirical results, based on a short panel of data covering 74 nations and two periods, provide sufficient support to the conclusion that materialism can be a positive force for economic progress.

Suggested Citation

  • Lingguo Xu & Peter E. Earl & D. S. Prasada Rao, 2019. "Materialism and Economic Progress," Discussion Papers Series 604, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:604
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    Cited by:

    1. Foster, John, 2018. "The Consumption Function: A New Perspective," MPRA Paper 84383, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Materialism; consumption; innovation; economic growth; economic progress; World Values Survey;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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