Education and Consumption
University of Zurich, Switzerland
Education can be defined as the learning of general basic skills (reading, writing), specific instrumental skills (accounting, techniques of a certain craft), factual knowledge, and finally socialization into values, norms, and social behavior based on teaching. Furthermore, in contemporary societies education also includes the certificates issued by educational organizations.
With regard to consumption, education is important in mainly two respects. First, consumer education means the teaching of the different skills, knowledge, and norms which are important for achieving a consumer's goals. These goals range from being able to utilize a certain appliance like a washing machine, to attaining particular health standards, to sustainable consumption. Different actors, like state agencies, companies, schools, consumerist organizations, and other social movements, are involved in consumer education.
The second aspect is the empirical and theoretical relationship between certain measures of education (e.g., years of schooling) and different forms of consumption. On the one hand, there is research on education and its impact on general orientations, for example the assumption that those with a higher education have a stronger future orientation and a greater ability to defer gratification. This thesis is often cited in the literature; nevertheless, the empirical evidence overall ...