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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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    1. Frey, Bruno S. & Benesch, Christine & Stutzer, Alois, 2007. "Does watching TV make us happy?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 283-313, June.
    2. Jeremy Greenwood & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "Hours Worked (Long-Run Trends)," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 10, Economie d'Avant Garde.
    3. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 2394, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2002. "Engines of Liberation," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 2, Economie d'Avant Garde.
    5. Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jungmin Lee, 2007. "Stressed Out on Four Continents: Time Crunch or Yuppie Kvetch?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 374-383, May.
    6. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Richard Layard & Guy Mayraz & Stephen J Nickell, 2007. "The marginal utility of income," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19745, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Bruni, Luigino & Stanca, Luca, 2008. "Watching alone: Relational goods, television and happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 506-528, March.
    9. 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.
    10. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2006. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 209-225, 05.
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