Becoming consumer on an emerging market

Date of publication: April 1, 1995


This paper presents the attempt to launch a periodic consumer survey programme within the conditions of free-market economy build in contemporary Poland. The consumer survey approach is based on a theory of psychological economics developed in the forties by George Katona. It explores relationships between attitudes of consumers and macro- economic trends determining business cycles. The extend to which such macro-economic factors as the level of consumer goods production depend on consumers appraisal and moods can itself be the measure of the role of free-market mechanisms in economy. To check if in today Poland one can notice performance of this kind of mechanisms an analysis was carried out in which assessments of consumer confidence made by DEMOSKOP over a period of 37 months were compared with the data, published monthly by the Central Statistical Office - GUS, concerning retail sales and industrial production. Some of the results of the analysis are presented in this paper. They justify the statement that the Polish economy has begun to adopt free-market rules in some areas while in another ones it still remains depending on administrative rather than consumer decisions. The brief discussion of the problems met by an attempt to apply an approach of psychological economics to contemporary Polish conditions ends the paper.

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