What do you like to buy?

The rising standard of living, alongside global warming, has transformed air conditioners from a luxury item into a product that is essential for surviving the long, hot Israeli summer.

By LIOR REGEV
October 27, 2016 18:27
2 minute read.
Israel Air Conditioner

Ownership of an Air Conditioner in the Large Cities, 1999-2014. (photo credit: JERUSALEM INSTITUTE FOR POLICY RESEARCH)

 
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One of the indices of a country’s economic status is the rate of ownership of durable goods. Durable goods are purchased once every few years and include, for example, furniture, cars or electrical appliances such as a refrigerator, stove or washing machine. In the modern capitalist economy, which relies on the market system and private property, ownership of durable goods serves as an indicator of a household’s economic welfare and standard of living.

Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics conducts an annual survey that examines ownership of various goods and services, among other factors (Survey of Household Expenditures). The list of goods whose ownership the CBS examines is updated annually, in accordance with economic development and technological preferences. A review of previous surveys reveals that in the past it examined ownership of VCRs, which was later updated to DVD players. Perhaps future surveys will examine ownership of wristband microchips that project movies onto walls… For some goods, increasing ownership rates corresponded with a rising standard of living, but the increase over the years was gradual. For example, the percentage of Israeli households that owned at least one vehicle was 55% in 1999; 58% in 2005; 62% in 2009; and 65% in 2014, the last year for which data are available.

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