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The impact of inflation on U.S. consumer behavior 2022 vs the 1970s: A comparison

  • Currently, inflation is rising again at a pace not observed since the decade of high inflation in the 1970s, and consumer sentiment is falling to record lows. This work seeks to understand the extent and potential differences of how inflation impacts consumer behavior in these two inflation periods. To this end, we employ an adaptive theory of consumer behavior using a variant of a stimuli-response model. We analyze stimuli of behavioral changes along two dimensions. We describe consumers’ ability to buy by external factors and their willingness to buy by internal influences. Relevant quantities for each are determined, and their time series are investigated. We investigate responses to the stimuli in two categories. We assess adaptions in behavioral patterns by reviewing research studies and surveys. We analyze salient responses via times series. The results of this work reveal that inflation does have a significant impact on consumer behavior. Many effects of inflation on consumer behavior are similar for both inflation periods. External and internal factors are needed to explain behavioral changes. This work also finds different responses for the two inflation periods, although internal influences are very similar. Qualitatively, we can explain these different responses by external factors that differ between the two time periods. For more quantitative conclusions, one would have to consider additional internal factors. Further longitudinal studies to identify internal stimuli and consumer responses would also be of great value.

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Author:Manuel Schuler
Advisor:Daniel Cerquera
Document Type:Bachelor Thesis
Year of Completion:2023
Granting Institution:Hochschule Furtwangen
Date of final exam:2023/02/22
Release Date:2023/02/23
Tag:Inflation; Kaufentscheidung; Verbraucherverhalten
Influencing factors; Stimulus-response model
Page Number:91
Degree Program:IBM - International Business Management
Functional area:Economics
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt