ECH-30306 Economics and Sociology of Consumers and Households


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. JAC van Ophem
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. G Antonides
dr. JAC van Ophem
dr. C Sato
prof. dr. HAJ Bras
Examiner(s)prof. dr. G Antonides
dr. JAC van Ophem
dr. C Sato
prof. dr. HAJ Bras

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

ECH-22306 Economics of Consumption, Welfare and Society; SCH-20806 Lifestyles and Consumption.

Continuation courses:

Sensory perception and consumer preference, thesis Economics of Consumers and Households and/or Thesis Sociology of Consumers and Housholds.


This course has three parts: a common part (3 ECTS) , a behavioural economics part (3 ECTS) and a sociological part (3 ECTS). After the common part students select either an ECH or SCH part or do both.
The aim of this course is to deepen the students understanding and analysis of consumer behaviour and consumer society. In the common part attention will paid to the following issues: households as the micro context of consumption; livelihood strategies and basic needs; the life cycle perspective; financial management of households; care, a critical issues; changes in the socio-economic context of consumption as growing inequalities, high unemployment, austerity; consumption, consumerism and sustainability; education and health as forms of human capital.
The ECH-part deals with the Architecture of Choice. In this part we show the effects of the economic and situational context on consumer and household behaviour that give rise to bounded rationality. Altering the choice context by means of policy measures is considered as a non-paternalistic way of helping society to achieve desirable objectives. Theory, experiments and applications are considered in the areas of risk and uncertainty, intertemporal choice, reference effects in decision making, financial behaviour, and well-being.
The SCH-part deals with the New Politics of Consumption. The main aim of this part is the examination of the concept of needs in the context of current thinking on consumption culture. This part analyses the concept of basic needs in relation to other concepts in theories of consumption such as political consumerism, commodity chain, temporality and ethical consumption. The new politics of consumption in the wealthier nations is examined in light of the above.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- review consumer and household choice problems (consumption inequalities, bounded rationality);
- evaluate the relationship of household choice problems with policy and societal issues;
- evaluate consumerism;
- monitor the societal consequences of a mass consumption society.


- to attend lectures;
- to write papers;
- to make a short presentation.


Common part: Written exam with 4 open questions (50%);
Specialization part (50%), either ECH:
-two open questions (0.4);
- group presentation (0.1);
- experiment (0.5).
- two open questions (0.4);
- group presentation (0.25);
- group paper (0.35).
To pass both common and the specialization part require a minimum mark of 5.0, and the overall average a minimum of 5.50.


To be announced.

Restricted Optional for: MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScB: Consumer Studies6MO
MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScB: Consumer Studies6MO