The consumer is also a maker. Just like a producer, consumers inevitably and constantly find themselves transforming time, material resources, and market goods into something that is good for them. But what is good for them is not inscribed in the goods already available; it has to be discovered. Options and opportunities must be detected and exploited. The consumer is therefore also an entrepreneur, looking for ways to create and add value as well as differential advantage for him or herself. Novelty is an outcome of process; it is also a fundamental motivation for this activity. Consumers seem to delight in trying new solutions, exploring new combinatory possibilities. Many of these facets of consumer behaviour are barely touched on in traditional economic theory, where the consumer's motivation is subsumed under an unanalysed preference set, the consumer simply responds passively to exogenous changes, and he or she never engages in producing change. Other literatures have taken up some of these themes, but not as a central concern, rather as insights from their separate disciplinary perspectives. This book makes these themes central.
The book aims to provide an economic-theoretical understanding of the many ways in which innovation can structure consumer choice. The authors show from different points of view how central novelty can be in consumer behaviour, how it relates to technical change, how new consumer capabilities are developed and organized, or may involve the consumer in costly errors, how novelty dictates the multiple lives of products, and how desire for it can induce change in labour supply patterns. Conceptual and linguistic shifts needed to discuss consumption in this new light are also dealt with. Marina Bianchi, University of Cassino, Italy; Peter Earl, Lincoln University, New Zealand; Davide Gulaerzi, Padova, Italy; Guido Guerzoni, SDA Bocconi, Milan, Italy; Gab