Four Laws of Consumption

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Scientific knowledge can be distilled into a set of laws that are sufficiently general and robust to be useful in describing and predicting behaviour - the behaviour of physical objects (the orbits of the planets, for example), invisible forces (electricity), economies (why some prosper and others languish) and people (education as deliberate investment in human capital). This paper identifies four empirical regularities in consumption behaviour that are sufficiently general and pervasive to qualify as 'laws': Engel's law; the law of demand (the downward-sloping demand curve); quantities more dispersed than prices; and the 'law' of -12 for price elasticities. In each case, I survey previous research, use international evidence to illustrate the workings of the laws and demonstrate their practical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-385
Number of pages28
JournalEconomic Record
Volume95
Issue number310
Early online dateJul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Four Laws of Consumption'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this