2019 (16), №1

Economic Consumption Theory: Types, Properties and Useful Goods



For citation: 

Sukharev, O. S. (2019). Economic Consumption Theory: Types, Properties and Useful Goods. Zhurnal Economicheskoj Teorii [Russian Journal of Economic Theory], 16(1), 60-74


The problem of the development of modern economic theory of consumer goods is investigated, taking into account that neoclassical views cease to be relevant for certain types of goods, namely positional goods, information, knowledge, and “cultural goods”. The properties of public, private, and quasi-public goods are specified. A proposed utility function for information will disallow the opposing issue of social and individual utility, which is indicative of the “mainstream”. The existence of various types of goods and a high variety of goods present a difficulty in creating a unified goods theory that would integrate consumption effects and utility assessment for all goods. A basic equation that binds marginal and total utility of individual and social goods is introduced. Neoclassical analysis factors out institutes that connect utility distribution. Within the framework of the presented equation, opposition or separation of social and individual interests in that case is deemed a conditional model in the theory of consumer goods and has weak factual foundations. Several public goods (national security) are characterized by consumer delay and are created in reserve. It is shown that cost disease does not touch upon all types of “cultural goods” because, in the institutional sense, the identification of cost disease occurs during cost estimation and price determination, i.e. depends on institutional conditions. Cost behavior does not always outpace price dynamics. In the field of “cultural goods” of show business, there is a possibility of significant investments and a fairly quick return, which makes this kind of “cultural” business highly profitable for both performers and owners.

Oleg Sergeevich Sukharev — Doctor of Economics, Professor, Institute of Market Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Laboratory of Institutional Economics; Chief Research Associate, Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russian Federation; e-mail: o_sukharev@list.ru).