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Status, Inequality and Growth

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  • Ed Hopkins

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  • Tatiana Kornienko

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate whether, because of differing social organisation, the effect of greater equality may have opposing effects on economic growth in different societies. We investigate a simple endogenous growth model where agents care about their status. This is determined by their ordinal rank in the distribution of consumption. In such a situation, each individual’s problem becomes strategic as her utility will depend on the consumption choices of others, so that the equilibrium consumption and investment choices depend on the distribution of income. In this model, if individuals are concerned with their status when young, greater equality leads to more intense competition for status and thus higher levels of conspicuous consumption for a large mass of individuals, with a possibility of lower investment, and thus lower growth. If individuals are concerned with their status when old, the results are reversed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 123.

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Length: 21
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:123

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Keywords: Status; relative standing; income inequality; growth; consumption externalities.;

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References

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  1. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. " Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-99, September.
  3. Cooper, Ben & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Funk, Peter, 2001. "Status Effects and Negative Utility Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 642-65, July.
  4. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
  5. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
  6. Andrew Postlewaite, . ""The Social Basis of Interdependent Preferences''," CARESS Working Papres 97-14, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  7. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Tsoukis, Christopher & Tournemaine, Frederic, 2010. "Status in a canonical macro model: labour supply, growth, and inequality," MPRA Paper 26480, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Consumption, Status and Redistribution," ESE Discussion Papers 127, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  3. Yutaro Hatta, 2013. "Wealth Distribution Dynamics with Status Preference: asymmetric motivations for status," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 13-08, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).

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