The Review of Black Political Economy

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 87–99 | Cite as

Consumer demand by Black Americans

  • Donald J. Milley


This article investigates the consumption patterns of black Americans for five different commodity groups: food, housing, clothing, health care, and transportation. The black consumer’s demand for these products is hypothesized as describable by the linear expenditure system. The system allows the investigation of changing relative commodity prices and income. The system also establishes a basic consumption bundle as an estimable parameter of the system. The basic bundle allows for changes in composition due to increased product familiarity, habit formation, and emulation by black consumers. Product familiarity and habit-formation play a role in determining the black consumer’s demand for the commodities food, housing, and clothing. This demand is also partially determined by the consumer’s “emulation” of consumption standards established by society in general. The article is not a comparison study of black-white differences in consumer behavior; however, the possible existence of an emulation effect in black consumer behavior suggests an interrelation of black-white consumer welfare which might fruitfully be studied by future researchers.


Real Income Commodity Price Habit Formation Budget Share Consumer Expenditure 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1987

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  • Donald J. Milley

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