2008,10 : From status-seeking consumption to social norms : an application to the consumption of cleanliness

Woersdorfer, Julia Sophie

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. -- social norms ; status seeking ; externalities ; consumer needs ; consumer learning ; cleanliness


Citation style:
Woersdorfer, J.S., 2010. 2008,10: From status-seeking consumption to social norms : an application to the consumption of cleanliness, Papers on economics and evolution, Papers on economics and evolution.
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