The question whether human beings are to be regarded as social by nature—that is, whether they are naturally sociable and inclined to seek social cooperation and satisfaction from each other's company—was one of the central questions that separated the philosophers of the European Enlightenment. The meaning of sociability could vary from the preference for one another's company to altruistic behavior. Both of these aspects can be built into the consumption of goods and services—for instance, when the presence of others constitutes the value of the consumed object of service or when the well-being of others guides an individual's preferences. The popularity of a restaurant or a cinema as a sign of its value is an example of the first case (Schulze 1992). The shopping behavior ...

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