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Do You Enjoy Having More Than Others? Survey Evidence of Positional Goods

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Author Info

  • Carlsson, Fredrik

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Martinsson, Peter

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

Although conventional economic theory proposes that only the absolute levels of income and consumption matter for people’s utility, there is much evidence that relative concerns are often important. This paper uses a survey-experimental method to measure people’s perceptions of the degree to which such concerns matter, i.e. the degree of positionality. Based on a representative sample in Sweden, income and cars are found to be highly positional, on average. This is in contrast to leisure and car safety, which may even be completely non-positional.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 100.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 30 May 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economica, 2007, pages 586-598.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0100

Note: Published in Economics, 2007, Vol. 74. pp. 586-598
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
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Keywords: Relative income; relative consumption; positional goods; survey-experimental method; marginal degree of positionality;

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References

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  1. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-16, March.
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  16. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  17. Chao, Angela & Schor, Juliet B., 1998. "Empirical tests of status consumption: Evidence from women's cosmetics," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 107-131, February.
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