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Title:From status-seeking consumption to social norms: An application to the consumption of cleanliness PDF Logo
Authors:Woersdorfer, Julia Sophie
Issue Date:2008
Series/Report no.:Papers on economics and evolution 0810
Abstract:Interdependencies in consumer behavior stem from either status-seeking consumption or compliance with social norms. This paper analyzes how a consumption act changes from a means to signal the consumer's status to a means of norm compliance. It is shown that such a transformation can only be understood when consumer motivations other than social recognition are taken into account. We depict norm emergence as a learning process based on changing associations between a specific consumption act and widely shared, non-subjectivist consumer needs. Our conjectures are illustrated by means of a case study: the emergence of the cleanliness norm in the 19th century.
Subjects:social norms
status seeking
externalities
consumer needs
consumer learning
cleanliness
JEL:D02
D11
D62
D83
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:Papers on Economics and Evolution, MPI für Ökonomik

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