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Twenty-five years of materialism: do the US and Europe diverge?

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  • Stefano Bartolini

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  • Francesco Sarracino

Abstract

Using data from the World Values Survey and the European Values Study, we compare the trends of materialism over the last quarter of century among the US and six major European countries: France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Great Britain and Sweden. We use the definition of materialism adopted by positive psychologists. We find that the trends in Europe and in the US diverged. In the US materialism increased, while in Europe it decreased. However, some mixed patterns arise. In particular, Great Britain, Spain and Sweden showed some symptoms of an increase of materialistic values, although they were far less pronounced compared to the American ones. As far as the levels of materialism are concerned, the US started from relatively less materialistic positions. However, towards the end of our period of observation, they scored very high in the ranking of materialism in our sample of countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Bartolini & Francesco Sarracino, 2013. "Twenty-five years of materialism: do the US and Europe diverge?," Department of Economics University of Siena 689, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:689
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    Cited by:

    1. David Fielding & Stephen Knowles & Kirsten Robertson, 2017. "When does it matter how you ask? Cross-subject heterogeneity in framing effects in a charitable donation experiment," Working Papers 1701, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2017.
    2. Stefano Bartolini, 2014. "Building sustainability through greater happiness," Department of Economics University of Siena 703, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    materialism; trends; positive psychology; United States; Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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