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The decline of relational goods in the production of well-being?

  • Prinz, Aloys
  • Bünger, Björn
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    In this paper, we attempt to show why the importance of relational goods compared to conventional goods and status goods threatens to decline in contemporary societies. In our point of view, the development of the relative significance of these three types of goods is not a consequence of preference changes but of significant alterations in the opportunity costs of time. Increases of labor productivity in the industrial sector lead to higher time opportunity costs that reduce the demand for highly time-consuming activities as relational goods. Furthermore, the demand for status goods may increase in societies that grow rich as these goods can be bought to a large extent on the market and serve physical as well as psycho-social well-being. As shown empirically, there exist influences of the availability of free time on meeting friends and on life satisfaction. However, for the European countries represented in the dataset, we cannot find evidence yet for a crowding out of relational goods by status goods.

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    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/51277/1/67178868X.pdf
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    Paper provided by Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM), University of Münster in its series CAWM Discussion Papers with number 21.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cawmdp:21
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    Web page: http://www.wiwi.uni-muenster.de/cawm/

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    1. Bruno S. Frey & Christine Benesch & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Does Watching TV Make Us Happy?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-15, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," NBER Working Papers 14282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Greenwood,J. & Seshadri,A. & Yorukoglu,M., 2002. "Engines of liberation," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    4. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Value Surveys," Working Papers 89, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
    5. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
    6. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Watching alone: Relational Goods, Television and Happiness," Working Papers 90, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
    7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521801669 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Lee, Jungmin, 2005. "Stressed Out on Four Continents: Time Crunch or Yuppie Kvetch?," IZA Discussion Papers 1815, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Richard Layard & Guy Mayraz & Stephen Nickell, 2007. "The Marginal Utility of Income," CEP Discussion Papers dp0784, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    10. Jeremy Greenwood & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Hours Worked: Long-Run Trends," NBER Working Papers 11629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Robert Goodin & James Rice & Michael Bittman & Peter Saunders, 2005. "The Time-Pressure Illusion: Discretionary Time vs. Free Time," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 43-70, 08.
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