Materialism on the March: From Conspicuous Leisure to Conspicuous Consumption?
AbstractThis paper inserts Veblen’s (1898) concepts of conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption into a very simple model. Individuals have the choice to either invest their time into working, leading to easily observable levels of consumption, or into conspicuous leisure, whose effect on utility depends on how observable leisure is. We let the visibility of leisure depend positively on the amount of time an individual and her neighbors have lived in the same area. Individuals optimize across conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption. If population turnover is high, individuals are made worse off, since the visibility of conspicuous leisure then decreases and the status race must be played out primarily via conspicuous consumption. Analyzing interstate mobility in the US, we find strong support for our hypothesis: a 1 percentage point rise in population turnover increases the average work week of non-migrants by 7 minutes. The negative externality of population turnover on the visibility of conspicuous leisure is an argument for higher transport taxes.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 495.
Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
conspicuous leisure; conspicuous consumption; mobility; labour supply; status races;
Other versions of this item:
- Frijters, Paul & Leigh, Andrew, 2008. "Materialism on the March: From conspicuous leisure to conspicuous consumption?," The Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1937-1945, October.
- J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
- D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
- D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
- B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-06-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2006-06-03 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2006-06-03 (Post Keynesian Economics)
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