Choosing the Joneses: Endogenous Goals and Reference Standards
AbstractA growing economic literature stresses the importance of relative comparisons, e.g., for savings and consumption or happiness. In this literature it is usually assumed that reference standards against which people compare themselves are exogenously given. In contrast, findings from social psychology suggest that people play an active role in determining their reference standards. We present a social comparison model where people choose their reference standards to serve motives of self-improvement and self-enhancement. The model predicts that reference standards increase in individuals’ abilities and that people therefore tend to compare themselves to similar others. The results of a questionnaire study confirm the model’s prediction.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4459.
Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Other versions of this item:
- Armin Falk & Markus Knell, 2004. "Choosing the Joneses: Endogenous Goals and Reference Standards," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 417-435, October.
- Falk, Armin & Knell, Markus, 2004. "Choosing the Joneses: Endogenous Goals and Reference Standards," IZA Discussion Papers 1152, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
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