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The neglect of comparison income: An historical perspective

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Author Info

  • Stavros Drakopoulos

Abstract

Theories of social comparison have a long presence in the social sciences and have provided many useful insights. In economics, the idea of comparison, aspiration or relative income belongs to this theoretical framework. The first systematic usages of this notion can be found in the works of Keynes and Duesenberry. After these works the concept was relatively ignored by orthodox theorists until its recent re-appearance, mainly in the fields of labour and macroeconomics. To the contrary, however, income comparisons continued to play a role in much of Keynesian inspired and non-mainstream economics literature. In the past few years it has made a strong comeback in the literature of job satisfaction and of the economics of happiness. This paper attempts to trace the development of the concept in the modern history of economic thought. It also discusses the main theoretical implications of adopting income comparisons and possible reasons for its relative disregard by orthodox economics.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09672560903552579
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 441-464

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Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:18:y:2011:i:3:p:441-464

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Related research

Keywords: Relative income; history of economic thought; wages;

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Cited by:
  1. Drakopoulos, Stavros A. & Katselidis, Ioannis, 2012. "The Development of Trade Union theory and Mainstream Economic Methodology," MPRA Paper 39239, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Grund, Christian & Martin, Johannes, 2012. "Monetary Reference Points of Managers: An Empirical Investigation of Status Quo Preferences and Social Comparisons," IZA Discussion Papers 7097, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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