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Konsummuster im Kontrast: Die Entwicklung unterschiedlicher Einkommensverwendungsmuster anhand verschiedener Haushaltstypen im zeitlichen Wandel

Bögenhold, Dieter and Fachinger, Uwe (2005): Konsummuster im Kontrast: Die Entwicklung unterschiedlicher Einkommensverwendungsmuster anhand verschiedener Haushaltstypen im zeitlichen Wandel.

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Most of previous empirical analyses concerning the consumption of private households mainly took specific goods or groups of goods into consideration yielding rather a rag rug than a consistent picture. The aim of the analysis is to sort out some of the partially dispa-rate results and to draw an overall picture of the development of the spending of private households over a large period of time. Especially, the structure of spending and its changes will be analysed and set into relation to the welfare of society and periods of different eco-nomic prosperity. Special emphasis will be given to the question, whether emerging vertical and horizontal social inequalities respectively the development of diversification and indi-vidualisation of life-styles is going to be reflected in the spending of private households and in the related structure over time. The empirical analysis is based upon the Laufende Wirtschaftsrechnungen of the Statisti-cal Office of Germany, which cover a period of 35 to 50 years depending on the specific type of household. These data record the spending of three household-types, (i) two-person households of pensioners and people on social security, (ii) four-person households with middle income and (iii) four-person households with high income. Expenditures for these household groups are portrayed for nine groups of goods. The empirical analysis of changes in the structure of spending over a large period of about 50 years shows two effects, first, a rise in spending of private households in real terms and, second, considerable changes in the composition of the expenditure structure. The relevance of spending on housing, health care and traffic raised substantial and dominate the structure in the 1990’s, whereas the spending on food and semi-luxuries, on furniture and household effects, and on clothing noticeably dropped. So, in 1964 spending on food and semi-luxuries dominated the structure whereas in 1998, the main part of spending belonged to housing. In the course of these changes, a levelling of the structural differences between the three household types took place which principally proved to be an adaptation to the expen-diture pattern structure of the spending of households with the highest income. Our finding is that these structural changes are reflecting a specific mode of spending of private house-holds during a rise of welfare. With that, on the aggregate level of groups of goods no em-pirical indication could be found for the often expressed development into a diversification and individualisation within the society.

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