The intrinsic complexity of post-materialist society makes it challenging to investigate the connection between social changes and generations. However, the study of consumption might help in the analysis of such a connection. In this paper, we analyse empirical data of consumption on leisure of Italian households, and focus on families at a very precise stage of family life-cycle, that is, couples with teenager children. We look at consumption of households at different points in time, 2001, 2007, and 2012, in order to investigate the impact of both social change and generation of children–Y-generation in 2001 and 2007, and Z-generation in 2012–on the leisure expenditure patterns of families. Specifically, we consider secondary data of yearly expenditure on a wide range of different leisure activities, and use hierarchical clustering and logistic regression to highlight specificities in family consumption patterns on leisure, depending on both the generation of offspring and the inter-time between sampled cohorts, 2001–2012 and 2007–2012. Our analysis indicates the presence of differences between the consumption patterns on leisure of families with Y-generation children and families with Z-generation children. However, our results also point out that such differences cannot be explained by solely invoking the different generation of offspring, and that social changes should also be taken into account.
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Most of the social research work as well as of the popular publicity identifies the Y-generation with those born between 1980 and 2000. In this context it was decided to use the categorisation of Nielsen because it was considered more coherent with the literature concerning the identification of different generational groups as consumer actors. Nielsen ranks the Millennials as those born between 1981 and 1994.
According to Morin 1962, libidinization is a continued interest and appetite for new goods that satisfy transitory and nonessential needs.
According to ISTAT, a household is defined by people that live together, linked by emotional ties, relationship, marriage, affinity or adoption.
For more details on the survey design, the methodological note for years 2001, 2007 and 2012 can be downloaded at: https://www.istat.it/it/archivio/4021 (language: Italian).
A few families with both parents unoccupied have been removed from the analysis, as well as the few families that showed no expenditure at all among the 25 considered expenditure categories.
Average Linkage method of hierarchical clustering was also performed, giving a similar partitioning of the families in the data set to the Complete Linkage algorithm.
More details on the survey design can be found at http://siqual.istat.it/SIQual/visualizza.do?id=0058000
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The analysis of microdata has been carried out at the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT) local office in Sicily, within a collaboration project on household expenditures, and the authors wish to thank Dr Fabrizio Consentino and Dr Roberto Foderà for support. Results reported in the present paper do not represent official statistics.
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Diliberto, S., Tumminello, M. & Lo Verde, F.M. Household Expenditure on Leisure: a Comparative Study of Italian Households with Children from Y- and Z-Generation. Int J Sociol Leis 2, 121–146 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41978-019-00037-z
- Family with adolescents
- Household consumption
- Multivariate analysis