Social Indicators Research

, Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 421–436 | Cite as

A Hierarchical Model for Analysing Consumption Patterns in Italy Before and During the Great Recession

  • Filippa Bono
  • Maria Francesca Cracolici
  • Miranda Cuffaro


The paper aims to explore how the Great Recession of the twenty-first century has impacted on the consumption behaviour of Italian households. Following a hierarchical approach, the study investigates differences in consumption behaviour at both household and regional levels. Using micro data on Italian Household Expenditure for the years 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2012, multilevel and two-step regression models have been estimated. The analysis has been performed for four different consumption categories: food, housing, work-related and leisure. The analysis reveals that the economic crisis led to increasing income elasticity for each category of consumption, especially for food, the most essential basic good. The crisis also created more marked regional disparities in the average level of expenditure.


Consumption behaviour Regional disparities Hierarchical modelling 


  1. Achen, C. H. (2005). Two-step hierarchical estimation: Beyond regression analysis. Political Analysis, 13(4), 447–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aguiar, M., & Hurst, E. (2013). Deconstructing life cycle expenditure. Journal of Political Economy, 121(3), 437–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arpino, B., & Aassve, A. (2013). The role of villages in households’ poverty exit: Evidence from a multilevel model for rural Vietnam. Quality & Quantity, 48(4), 2175–2189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arrondel, L., Savignac, F., & Tracol, K. (2014). Wealth and consumption: French households in the crisis. International Journal of Central Banking, 10(3), 163–204.Google Scholar
  5. Aydiner Boylu, A., Öztop, H., & Terzolu, G. (2012). Impact of an economic crisis on the lifestyle of families in Ankara. The Indian Journal of Social Work, 73(1), 95–122.Google Scholar
  6. Ballester, R., Velazco, J., & Rigall-I-Torrent, R. (2015). Effects of the great recession on immigrants’ household consumption in Spain. Social Indicators Research, 123, 771–797.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bank of Italy. (2013). Annual report. Roma: Bank of Italy.Google Scholar
  8. Bernini, C., Cracolici, M.F., & Cuffaro, M. (2015). Inequalities in consumption patterns over the life cycle and the Great Recession. In Proceedings SIS 2015 statistical conference. Statistics and demography: The legacy of Corrado Gini, 9–11 September, Treviso, Italy.Google Scholar
  9. Bock, R. D. (1989). Multilevel analysis of educational data. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  10. Bono, F., Cuffaro, M., & Giaimo, R. (2007). Regional inequalities in consumption patterns: A multilevel approach to the case of Italy. International Statistical Review, 75(1), 44–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Browne, W. J., & Draper, D. (2000). Implementation and performance issues in the Bayesian fitting of multilevel models. Computational Statistics, 15, 391–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Celidoni, M., De Nadai, M., & Weber, G. (2015). Consumption during the great recession in Italy. Mimeo: Department of Economics and Management, Padua University.Google Scholar
  13. Crossley, T., Hamish, L., & O’Dea, C. (2013). Household consumption through recent recessions. Fiscal Studies, 34(2), 203–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elhorst, P., & Zeilstra, A. S. (2007). Labour force participation rates at the regional and national levels of the European Union: An integrated analysis. Papers in Regional Science, 86(4), 525–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Estiri, H., Gabriel, R., Howard, E., & Wang, L. (2013). Different regions, differences in energy consumption: Do regions account for the variability in household energy consumption? Working Paper No. 134. Center for statistics and the social sciences, University of Washington.Google Scholar
  16. Fahrmeir, L., & Tutz, G. (1994). Multivariate statistical modelling based on generalized linear models. New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fazio, G., & Piacentino, D. (2010). A spatial multilevel analysis of Italian SMEs’ productivity. Spatial Economic Analysis, 5(3), 1742–1780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Franzese, R. J. (2005). Empirical strategies for various manifestations of multilevel data. Political Analysis, 13(4), 430–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goldstein, H. (2003). Multilevel statistical models (3rd ed.). London: Hodder Arnold.Google Scholar
  20. Guerin, D., Crete, J., & Mercier, J. (2001). A multilevel analysis of the determinants of recycling behavior in the European Countries. Social Science Research, 30, 195–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Han, S., Kim, H., & Lee, H. S. (2013). A multilevel analysis of the compositional and contextual Association of social capital and subjective well-being in Seoul, South Korea. Social Indicators Research, 111, 185–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haughton, D. M., & Nguyen, P. (2010). Multilevel models and inequality in Vietnam. Journal of Data Science, 8, 289–306.Google Scholar
  23. Jusko, K. L., & Shively, W. P. (2005). Applying a two-step strategy to the analysis of cross-national public opinion data. Political Analysis, 13(4), 327–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lewis, J. B., & Linzer, D. A. (2005). Estimating regression models in which the dependent variable is based on estimates. Political Analysis, 13(4), 345–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Petev, I., Pistaferri, L., & Eksten, I. (2011). Consumption and the great recession: An analysis of trends, perceptions, and distributional effects. Mimeo: Stanford University.Google Scholar
  26. Raudenbush, S., & Bryk, A. S. (1986). A hierarchical model for studying school effects. Sociology of Education, 59(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rivellini, G., & Zaccarin, S. (2002). Multilevel analysis in social research: An application of cross-classified model. Statistical Methods and Application, 14, 95–108.Google Scholar
  28. Rodano, L., & Rondinelli, C. (2014). The Italian household consumption: A comparison among recessions. Politica Economica, 2–3, 203–234.Google Scholar
  29. Rondinelli, C. (2014). On the structure of Italian households: Consumption patterns during the recent crises. Politica Economica, 2–3, 235–260.Google Scholar
  30. Subramanian, S. V., Kawachi, I., & Kennedy, B. P. (2001). Does the state you live in make a difference? Multilevel analysis of self-rated health in the US. Social Science and Medicine, 53, 9–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Whelan, C. T., Russell, H., & Maître, B. (2016). Economic stress and the great recession in Ireland: Polarization, individualization or ‘middle class squeeze’? Social Indicators Research, 126, 503–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zeilstra, A. S., & Elhorst, P. (2014). Integrated analysis of regional and national unemployment differentials in the European Union. Regional Studies, 48(10), 1739–1755.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, Business and StatisticsUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly

Personalised recommendations