The Social Contingency of Wants Implications for Growth and the Environment
Economic models typically assume that individual wants are determined by forces exogenous to the economic system. Social psychology and consumer research, in contrast, support the view that the perceived benefits of consumption are strongly affected by endogenously determined social norms. This paper presents a selective overview of the literature on the relationship between consumption and well-being, exploring the ways in which informal arguments from the descriptive social sciences might be linked to formal models of economic behavior. We incorporate Sen's (1985) distinction between commodities and functionings into Nordhaus' (1994) model of climate change and the world economy, showing that optimal paths for greenhouse gas emissions and capital accumulation are highly sensitive to the role of consumption norms in the welfare determination.
|Date of creation:||Sep 1998|
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- Kjell Arne Brekke & Richard B. Howarth & Karine Nyborg, 1998. "Are there Social Limits to Growth?," Discussion Papers 239, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
- Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Poor, Relatively Speaking," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 153-69, July.
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- Oswald, Andrew J, 1997.
"Happiness and Economic Performance,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-31, November.
- Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
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