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The demand for books estimated by means of consumer survey data

 

In this analysis we present some results for book demand in Norway obtained by means of a three-goods model (books, other cultural goods and non-cultural goods) and survey data for more than 18000 households from the period 1986-1999. Various methods of estimation are used and they provide surprisingly unambiguous results. All our hypotheses about the price- and income sensitivity of book demand are confirmed. Books turn out to be income elastic, they also seem to be price elastic and our calculations suggest that books and other cultural goods are close substitutes. We also obtain some more or less surprising results for socio-demographic variables. Among the latter the results show that access to outlets for books, sex and age matter for book-demand. Among the former is the finding that single persons turn out to be quite good customers for the booksellers, and in particular that households with small children, especially those with children less than 7 years, are frequent book-buyers. Even if the data used are not collected for econometric purposes, and contain a fair amount of peculiarities, the approach used in this analysis seems to be quite promising. It could be applied for book demand in other countries, for other cultural goods, and for “small” non-cultural goods as well.