The Economics of Consumption: Economics of Decision Making in the Household

The Economics of Consumption: Economics of Decision Making in the Household

The Economics of Consumption: Economics of Decision Making in the Household

The Economics of Consumption: Economics of Decision Making in the Household

Excerpt

In the hazy and ill-defined land of consumption economics, we find numerous volumes focusing on personal finances, consumer education, and various aspects of buymanship but few that concentrate on the economics of consumption. As teachers in the applied field of consumption economics, we have felt the need of a text that grows out of the main stream of economic thinking, that employs analytical methods from modern economics, and that deals with problems amenable to solutions by economic analyses. In more general terms, we have felt the need of a text that describes and analyzes the decision making of households within the frame of reference provided by modern economics. And it has been our purpose in writing this volume to develop a text that meets this need. It is further our hope that this volume will contribute to the organization of a field of study and inquiry that concentrates on the economics of decision making in the household: demonstrates that there is, in fact, such a field, and provides some guides for those who seek to explore it.

In developing this text, the authors have assumed that student users will have completed a conventional course in the principles of economics. The analytical portions of this volume begin in all cases at an elementary level and proceed step by step. Thus the student who has not had or may have forgotten his principles of economics can follow the reasoning. But whether the analyses can, without a "principles" background, be placed in a proper and meaningful perspective is another question. In the view of the authors, this volume is best suited for use in a course that builds on the principles of economics and develops one of its many applied fields, namely, the economics of consumption. The course we have in mind is thus comparable in level and coverage with a first course in money and banking, international trade, or labor economics.

But certain basic and practical questions arise at this point: "Why do we need a course and text of the types outlined here?" "What good is a course and text which describe and analyze the decision making of consumers?" "Why not tell the consumer which automobile or hot-water heater is the best buy and let it go at that?" The negative answers are . . .

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