Examining Overconsumption, Competitive Consumption, and Conscious Consumption from 1994 to 2004: Disentangling Cohort and Period Effects

D. Jasun Carr, Melissa R. Gotlieb, Nam Jin Lee, Dhavan V. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Taken together, Robert Putnam's work on the decline of social capital (2000) and Juliet Schor's insights about the rise of "the new consumerism" (1999) suggest a shift in values in which our responsibilities as citizens have taken a backseat to our desires as consumers. This article complicates this shift in civic and consumer culture by examining generational differences in overconsumption, competitive consumption, and conscious consumption between 1994 and 2004. Using survey proxies for these concepts from the annual DDB Needham Life Style Study, the authors find that Generation X exhibits the highest rates of overconsumption and competitive consumption while also displaying the lowest rates of conscious consumption. Notably, the trends for these three aspects of consumer behavior vary in terms of overtime stability, general tendency, and economic responsiveness. These differing patterns of spending and consumption have far-reaching implications for society as a whole, particularly as the Civic Generation fades, the Boomers move out of the workforce, and Generation X becomes mature and culturally dominant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-233
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume644
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • conspicuous consumption
  • ethical consumerism
  • generational differences
  • indebtedness
  • new consumerism
  • social capital

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