Publication Date: October 2015
We test for the long-term impact of experiencing “prosperity in youth” (PIY) on non-traditional category consumption. Using unique twenty-year panel data of individuals from nine Chinese provinces with varying levels of per-capita GDP and rates of per-capita GDP growth, we ﬁnd robust evidence for the PIY eﬀect. We ﬁnd both a direct eﬀect of one’s own prosperity and an indirect eﬀect of the prosperity of one’s province during youth on long-term consumption. In particular, the indirect PIY eﬀect is driven more strongly by individuals with low incomes during youth — suggesting that norms and aspirations created by the consumption of non-traditional categories by the rich during one’s youth have signiﬁcant impact on long-term consumption — almost the same magnitude as the direct eﬀect. The analysis also highlights the importance of separating cohort eﬀects from life cycle eﬀects for taste based products. We highlight the marketing implications for non-traditional categories in emerging markets.
Cohort eﬀects, Lifecycle eﬀects, Emerging markets, China, Prosperity in youth, Impressionable years hypothesis, Long-term eﬀects
JEL Classification Codes: M310, D120, F610