Consumer Economics: Issues and Behaviors, 2nd Edition

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9780131590496: Consumer Economics: Issues and Behaviors, 2nd Edition

This book provides an up-to-date look at the consumer movement and the intricacies of consumer behavior. It addresses who buys what, how, when, and why. It also looks at the forces that impact consumer choice in an ever-changing and often turbulent world—all using a balanced casebook approach. This edition emphasizes the consumer power model, includes more on personal finance and reflects the latest consumption shifts and impact consumers have on product development, advertising, packaging and promotion. Anyone interested in consumer behavior.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Back Cover:

Today's consumer is operating in a much more complex marketplace than could ever have been envisioned by Adam Smith, founding father of modern economics, who argued that consumers—not kings or parliaments—should rule nations. There is no doubt that the consumer is still sovereign, but controlling resources is becoming increasingly difficult. This text examines and explains the issues surrounding the modern consumer.

Highlights include:
  • Student-based examples such as landlord-tenant disputes, sorting through credit card and cellular phone offers, purchasing cars and vehicle repairs, and choosing travel and various other "deals" wisely
  • Internet and e-commerce is well-documented
  • Introduces the circular flow model of consumption from beginning to end
  • A full chapter on consumption shifts and the consumer movement
  • State-of-the-art scientific and behavioral knowledge on diets, organically-grown food, genetically altered food, additives, food-related disease, and fast-food versus the slow-food movement
  • A full chapter on health and wellness
  • Practical information regarding purchasing homes, cars, insurance, and investments, including warranties and guarantees, product safety and awareness of "get rich quick" schemes
  • A full chapter on identity theft and how to avoid it

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

We must be the change we wish to see in the world.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Consumer economics—since it mirrors social and economic change—is a very fastpaced discipline. The purpose of this book is to provide an updated look at the consumer movement and the intricacies of consumer behavior. It addresses who buys, what, how, when, and why. It also looks at the forces that impact consumer choice in an ever-changing and often turbulent world. Quality of life and well being are seen as end states, which consumers pursue in their decision making. Too often consumer books have focused on problems and complaints, and although these are addressed, solutions are also presented.

The 21st century has brought us a keen awareness of company frailties and less than perfect ethics. Exposure of company fraud and excesses is constantly in the news eroding consumer confidence. Personal bankruptcies and the number of consumer complaints have hit all time highs. In short, we have a way to go before we reach a truly functioning and fair marketplace. This book traces this pursuit through time and across countries. Adding to the global approach has been the Internet, which has pushed privacy issues to the forefront while at the same time opening up competition in products, information, and user practices. From the consumer point of view, competition is nearly always favorable. But in all things there are tradeoffs; and identity theft, which can happen in-person, or over the Internet, is the current number one consumer concern.

Today's consumer is operating in a much more complex marketplace than could ever have been envisioned by Adam Smith, founder of modern economics, who argued that consumers—not kings or parliaments—should rule nations. There is no doubt that the consumer is still sovereign, but controlling resources is becoming increasingly difficult. "New" consumers are about so much more than saving money and fighting the urge to buy on impulse. The following list highlights how the text's coverage seeks to explain the behavior and issues surrounding these new consumers.

  • The text presents 14 chapters designed to be manageable in a semester long course, detailing the unique ideas and solutions that lead to more successful consumer experiences.
  • Students like examples that relate to their own lives, so every effort has been made to give student-based examples such as landlord-tenant disputes, sorting through credit card and cellular phone offers, purchasing cars and vehicle repairs, and choosing travel and various other "deals" wisely.
  • The Internet and e-commerce play very big roles in this text. The trend toward buying online or at least shopping around for information is well documented.
  • More universities are incorporating consumer behavior into their consumer courses, and this combination is reflected in the title and the content. Advertising and media impacts are highlighted. At the same time, economics, environmental studies, public policy, and law are not neglected. The legal aspects of consumerism are especially emphasized.
  • The text is unique in its introduction of a circular flow model and in its coverage of the process of consumption from beginning to end.
  • A full chapter on consumption shifts and the consumer movement is also unique. It is amazing to see the types of products that consumers once used often to their detriment and how the government stepped in to make the marketplace safer. Personalities are included to add "faces" to the policy changes.
  • What to eat and drink are daily consumption decisions we all make. The chapter provides state-of-the-art scientific and behavioral knowledge on diets, organically grown food, genetically altered food, additives, food-related disease, fast food versus the slow food movement, and bottled water consumption.
  • Next, is a chapter on health and wellness, another keystone area in consumerism. Skyrocketing health care costs, recalls of medical devices, the latest in cosmetics and treatments, and alcohol and tobacco consumption patterns are all explored.
  • Practical matters regarding purchasing homes, cars, insurance, and investments are covered. Warranties and guarantees are addressed as well as product safety and awareness of "get rich quick" schemes.
  • The last chapter zeros in on identity theft and how to avoid it. Also covered are a variety of other topics such as vulnerable populations and global consumption and it finishes with a look toward the future.
  • Since terms and words are so important in consumer economics, key terms are highlighted in the text and appear again in the Glossary to aid in study.
  • Careers in consumer economics are mentioned throughout and again in the Appendices. When this book went to press the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced they were hiring 800 new employees mostly as investigators. The career opportunities for those trained in consumer economics are boundless whether in community service, government service, corporate consumer affairs, association or trade organizations, education, or law.
  • To aid instructors, ancillaries include an instructor's manual with a test item file and outlines and PowerPoints.

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