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Keeping up with the neighbours: social interaction in a market economy

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  • Christian Ghiglino

    ()

  • Sanjeev Goyal

    ()

Abstract

We consider a world in which individuals have private endowments and trade in markets, while their utility is sensitive to the consumption of their neighbors. Our interest is in understanding how social structure of comparisons, taken together with the familiar fundamentals of the economy � endowments, technology and preferences � shapes equilibrium prices, allocations and welfare. We find that equilibrium prices and allocations depend on average individual centrality in the social network. As we add links to a social network, the centralities rise and this pushes up prices of the socially sensitive good. Newly linked agents demand more of the socially sensitive good, while the reverse happens with regard to the standard good. We derive a formula to compute the critical link, i.e., the new link which maximizes price increase. We then turn to a model with heterogenous endowments, and find that inequality in network centrality and in wealth inequality reinforce each other. Thus a transfer of resources from less to more central agents raises prices of the socially sensitive good and alters allocations and utilities of all agents. We show by example that poor individuals lose utility while rich individuals gain utility as society moves from segregation to integration.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 655.

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Date of creation: 30 Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:655

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  1. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," ESE Discussion Papers 92, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
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Cited by:
  1. eleonora patacchini & Yves Zenou & Xiaodong Liu, 2012. "Peer effects in education, sport and screen activities: local aggregate or local average?," 2012 Meeting Papers 1198, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Belhaj, Mohamed & Deroïan, Frédéric, 2013. "Strategic interaction and aggregate incentives," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 183-188.
  3. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Peer Effect, Risk-Pooling and Status Seeking: Which Matters to Gift Spending Escalation in Rural China?," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103643, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  4. Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Napel & Debraj Ray, 2010. "Aspirations, Segregation, and Occupational Choice," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(1), pages 139-168, 03.
  5. Marjit, Sugata & Roychowdhury, Punarjit, 2011. "Status, Poverty and Trade," MPRA Paper 33730, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Bloch, Francis & Quérou, Nicolas, 2013. "Pricing in social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 243-261.
  7. Christian Ghiglino & Antonella Nocco, 2012. "When Veblen meets Krugman," Economics Discussion Papers 708, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  8. Liu, Xiaodong & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2014. "Endogenous peer effects: local aggregate or local average?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 39-59.
  9. Sugata Marjit & Sattwik Santra & Koushik Kumar Hati, 2014. "Does inequality affect the consumption patterns of the poor? – The role of status seeking behaviour," Discussion Papers Series 514, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  10. Gauvin, Laetitia & Vignes, Annick & Nadal, Jean-Pierre, 2013. "Modeling urban housing market dynamics: Can the socio-spatial segregation preserve some social diversity?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 1300-1321.
  11. Marjit, Sugata & Mandal, Biswajit, 2011. "Conspicuous Consumption, Social Status and Measures of Poverty – An Example," MPRA Paper 33745, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Apr 2011.
  12. Vincenzo Lombardo, 2012. "Social inclusion and the emergence of development traps," Discussion Papers 1_2012, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  13. Marjit, Sugata & Roy, Ranjan, 2010. "Conflicting Measures of Poverty and Inadequate Saving by the Poor – The Role of Status Driven Utility Function," MPRA Paper 27472, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Fares Al-Hussami & Álvaro Martín Remesal, 2012. "Current Account Imbalances and Income Inequality: Theory and Evidence," Kiel Advanced Studies Working Papers 459, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  15. Marjit, Sugata, 2012. "Conflicting Measures of Poverty and Inadequate Saving by the Poor," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  16. Marjit, Sugata & Santra, Sattwik & Hati, Koushik Kumar, 2014. "Does inequality affect the consumption patterns of the poor? – The role of “status seeking” behaviour," MPRA Paper 54118, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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