Assume the Positional: Comment on Robert Frank
AbstractWe examine Robert Frankâ€™s arguments for taxation to mitigate positional externalities. The scarcity that characterizes positional goods is real, but various mechanisms reduce the potential waste, and Frank overstates the case for a governmental solution. The plausibility of Frankâ€™s arguments for extensive market failure requires various assumptions, including the usefulness of happiness comparisons over time, the widespread existence of winner-take-all markets, the failure of voluntary evolution to internalize externalities, and that both â€œleisureâ€ and governmental activities are significantly less positional than the full-range of activities Frank proposes to tax. Each assumption is shaky. Frankâ€™s policy solutions overlook standard public choice arguments against government expansion and shrug off the Smithian burden of proof incumbent on those proposing coercion.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.
Volume (Year): 3 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Positional goods; positional arms race; leisure; taxation; happiness;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
- D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Robert H. Frank, 2006. "Taking Libertarian Concerns Seriously: Reply to Kashdan and Klein," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(3), pages 435-451, September.
- Gasana, Parfait U., 2009. "Relative status and interdependent effects in consumer behavior," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 52-59, January.
- João Bernardino & Tanya Araújo, 2010. "On Positional Consumption and Technological Innovation- an Agent-based Approach," Working Papers Department of Economics 2010/04, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
- João Bernardino & Tanya Araújo, 2013. "On positional consumption and technological innovation: an agent-based model," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(5), pages 1047-1071, November.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jason Briggeman) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Jason Briggeman to update the entry or send us the correct address.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.