مصرف خانگی : تأثیر سطح انتظارات، مقایسه اجتماعی، و مدیریت پول
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|6381||2004||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6660 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 25, Issue 6, December 2004, Pages 753–769
The present research posits and tests a model of household consumption of less necessary or luxury goods and services. It is hypothesized that a household's economic situation has a direct effect on this consumption as well as indirect effects mediated by aspiration level, social comparison and money management. Structural equation modeling of questionnaire data from a sample of households in a metropolitan area of Sweden (n=411) was used to test the model. The results reveal that as expected the household's economic situation has a significant direct effect on consumption and indirect effects through aspiration level and social comparison. The results also show that satisfaction with consumption increases with increased consumption and decreases with higher aspiration levels.
Households are facing a number of consequential economic decisions concerning how to earn an income, what and how to purchase, what and how to save, and how to insure against possible losses. Many such decisions are made on a frequent and regular basis and are probably not perceived as particularly important or difficult to make. However, occasionally households struggle with tough decisions, for instance, about how to increase their income in bad times, buying or not buying a house, or how to cut down on expenses in order to increase savings for old age. Moreover, with the growing amount of products and services that are offered, and with the establishment of new ways of payment, daily managing the household economy has become an increasingly difficult task, a fact perhaps reflected in the growth of services for economic counseling (Bayne, 1998; Dellgran, 2000). The households' economic decisions are important and affect the well-being of the households themselves. They are also important for and affect the development of the national economy (Kirchler, 1995). Our focus in the present study is households' consumption of less necessary or luxury products and services. In a recent study, Dellgran and Karlsson (2001) analyzed Swedish household expenditure data from 1988 to 1996. The results indicated that the household economic situation in terms of income and household type (i.e., single or couple, with or without children) accounted for a substantial proportion of variance in the total household consumption (View the MathML source). In addition, we distinguished between necessary and less necessary or luxury consumption. Based on a Swedish survey (Halleröd, Marklund, Nordlund, & Stattin, 1993) of what goods and services households perceive as necessary consumption, expenditures were categorized as necessary if at least 50% of the sample perceived it as such, otherwise as luxury consumption. Furthermore, in line with categorizations made by Statistics Sweden, goods and services that are purchased regularly and/or are paid for on a running basis were categorized as non-durables, otherwise as durables. In four separate analyses, income and type of household explained a larger proportion of the variance in expenditures on necessary non-durables (View the MathML source) than of the variance in expenditures on necessary durables or luxury durables and non-durables (View the MathML source or less). The aim of the present study is to shed light on the question of what determines less necessary or luxury consumption if not income and household type. Moreover, we want to study how satisfied households are with their level of consumption and what determines this satisfaction. In the following we derive a number of hypotheses about how aspiration level, social comparison, and money management influence consumption and satisfaction with consumption. How much a household consumes depends on the income or economic situation of households. According to the well-cited life-cycle hypothesis of saving and consumption (Modigliani & Brumberg, 1954), the level of consumption is determined by the average expected lifetime income and not the current income. Empirical data demonstrates, however, that consumption matches income to a much greater extent than suggested by the life-cycle hypothesis (Deaton, 1997). From this and in line with Shefrin and Thaler's (1988) behavioral life-cycle hypothesis, it is reasonable to assume that households' current income will be an important determinant of their consumption. However, consistent with the results of our previous study (Dellgran & Karlsson, 2001), for less necessary or luxury consumption the direct effect of income and economic situation is expected to be weak. As we argue below, there may still be several indirect effects of economic situation. Studies of subjective well-being and income have shown only weak positive correlations (Diener & Diener, 1996). In cross-national comparisons, countries with a greater gross domestic product per capita also have greater average self-reports of subjective well-being, but this correlation is at least in part explained by differences in social indicators such as human rights (Diener & Suh, 1999). Within the wealthier nations, however, there seems to be only a weak correlation between income and well-being. In line with this we do not expect the household economic situation to directly affect the households' satisfaction with their level of consumption. Research on subjective well-being and economic variables have dealt with the relation to income and wealth rather than to consumption. Even if income and wealth is not strongly related to subjective well-being in itself, we assume that the goods and services that households actually buy for their money affect their satisfaction with consumption, and the economic situation may therefore indirectly influence satisfaction through increased consumption. Hence, we expect that there is a positive effect of level of consumption on the satisfaction with the consumption. Furthermore, some of the factors we discuss below have both direct and indirect effects on satisfaction.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In line with our previous study (Dellgran & Karlsson, 2001), the direct effect of economic situation on consumption of less necessary or luxury goods and services was found to be weak. However, as hypothesized in the proposed model, the households' economic situation influences consumption in indirect ways through aspiration level and social comparison. The results thus support that households with a better economic situation also have a higher level of aspiration, in the sense that they consider more goods and services to be necessary consumption. As expected, consumption also increases with higher aspiration levels. This suggests that a possible reason for the finding that consumption tracks income (Deaton, 1997) is that households increase their aspiration levels with increases in income. What is seen as necessary to buy increases with the ability or possibility to actually buy it. However, from the present survey data, an alternative interpretation is that households adjust their aspiration level to their degree of consumption, so that the more households consume, the more they consider things to be necessary. The data also confirm that households with a better economic situation consider themselves to be better off than others, and that consumption increases with the degree to which they do this. There are several ways in which social comparison may be important for consumption. In the present study the social comparisons were limited to comparisons of the economic situation. The finding that social comparison of the economic situation modifies the effect of economic situation on consumption may have different underlying reasons that are not possible to disentangle here. That households consider themselves to be better off or richer than others may motivate consumption. For instance, when considering buying something, one may be more inclined to do so if knowing that other people buy it, and if they can do it, one can do it since one is better off economically than others. On the other hand, consuming more may be a reason for considering one's own economic situation to be better than others. The hypothesized mediating roles of economic planning and regular saving for the influence of economic situation on consumption did not receive support. As expected, economic planning was found to decrease and regular saving to increase with a better economic situation. Neither economic planning nor regular saving was however found to have a significant effect on consumption. It is possible that this result reflects a genuine lack of influence of money management practices in terms of economic planning and regular saving. It may be the case that money management has more to do with enhancing feelings of having control over consumption and less with actual consumption. We find it more likely, however, that the lack of influence is due to the fact that the present study dealt with consumption during a very limited period of time, and the effects of economic planning and regular saving may be more pronounced and visible in the timing of consumption and how consumption is spread over time. If so, it would only be observable by tracking the consumption over time for separate households. Empirical support was obtained for the hypothesis that consumption increases while satisfaction with consumption decreases with higher aspiration levels. That is, a higher aspiration level that is not accompanied by higher level of consumption results in less satisfaction with consumption. This is in line with previous research demonstrating the role of goals as reference points for satisfaction with achievements (Heath et al., 1998) as well as with the notion of reference points in decision making research (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). Hence, households that keep their aspiration levels low and only see a few goods and services as necessary are more likely to be satisfied with their level of consumption. We find it more likely, however, that households attempt to increase their satisfaction by increasing their consumption rather than by reducing their aspiration level. Determinants of aspiration level may therefore be a key to understand consumption and satisfaction with consumption. As already noted, in the present study economic situation was found to be one such determinant. Another hypothesized determinant, social comparison, was however not found to significantly affect the aspiration level. A reason for this may be that it was restricted to comparisons of the economic situation. Social comparison of what other households consume or possess may be more likely to influence the aspiration level. That a positive evaluation of one's own economic situation in comparison with others increases satisfaction has been reported (Campbell et al., 1976). The question must be raised, however, whether a positive comparison with others leads to increased satisfaction or whether greater satisfaction leads to a more favorable view of one's own economic situation in comparison with others. There is experimental evidence showing that a favorable view of one's own situation causes increased satisfaction. For instance, the presence of a handicapped confederate increased subjective ratings of well-being (Strack, Schwarz, Chassein, Kern, & Wagner, 1990), and exposure to highly attractive women decreased women's self-rated attractiveness (Cash, Cash, & Butters, 1983). In the present study no effect on satisfaction was found of social comparisons. The path between social comparison and satisfaction seemed to be modified by consumption. The degree to which one's own household was evaluated as being economically better off than others was found to increase consumption, and satisfaction with consumption increased with consumption. Hence, the present results suggest that considering one to be better off than others only increase satisfaction with consumption substantially in conjunction with increased consumption. The constructs aspiration level, social comparison, and money management enrich and extend the understanding of household consumption. Although aspiration level and social comparison processes have been extensively investigated before, as far as we know there has been no previous research testing the relations between these constructs and actual (self-reported) consumption. As is posited in our model supported by the data, aspiration level, and social comparison are constructs that help understand indirect effects of the economic situation on consumption. Furthermore, they also prove to be important for the understanding of the relations between consumption and satisfaction with consumption. Households are not simply deriving satisfaction from their incomes from labor and welfare benefits. Rather, as is highlighted in the present study, their satisfaction also depend on consumption, aspiration level, and social comparison. The present model of household consumption is limited to the type of consumption that was studied and to the number of potentially important variables included. But these limitations are seen as necessary due to the difficulties of actually testing more comprehensive models of consumer behavior (Friedman, 1988; Simonson, Carmon, Dhar, Drolet, & Nowlis, 2001). Similarly, only one member in each household answered the survey. Yet all questions concerned the household, except the questions about satisfaction with consumption. Thus, the responses we obtain may be less representative of households. However, it is not likely that this invalidates the estimated model. There are also other limitations of the present study that we want to acknowledge. First, as repeatedly noted in the discussion above, our survey data stay mute on questions about causal direction between latent variables, and this needs to be addressed in future research. Second, aspiration level, social comparison, and money management are complex processes that are not easily captured in a comprehensive way in surveys. We chose to study social comparison of the economic situation, but there are other social comparisons that are relevant for consumer behavior, as for instance comparisons of the consumption or possession of goods and services. Similarly, we chose to study aspiration level in terms of what is seen as necessary consumption but households have also other aspirations relevant to consumption, such as goods and services that they wish or want to consume.