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Is Concern for Relative Consumption a Function of Relative Consumption?

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  • Andersson, Fredrik W.

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

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    Abstract

    By using hypothetical choice experiments, this paper presents evidence that individuals' concern for relative consumption depends on their relative consumption. Individuals with consumption levels above society's average consumption level tend to have, in general, lower concern for relative consumption. This supports Duesenberry's (1949) notion that people are more concerned with upward social comparison than with downward social comparison.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/2691
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 220.

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    Length: 16 pages
    Date of creation: 30 Jun 2006
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: Published in Journal of Socio Economics, 2008, pages 353-364.
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0220

    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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    Related research

    Keywords: Relative consumption; marginal degree of positionality; choice experiments; questionnaire-experimental methods;

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    References

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    1. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2002. "How important is Methodology for the Estimates of the Determinants of Happiness?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-024/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Olof Johansson-Stenman & Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala, 2002. "Measuring Future Grandparents" Preferences for Equality and Relative Standing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 362-383, April.
    3. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2001. "How Much Do We Care About Absolute Versus Relative Income and Consumption?," Working Papers in Economics 63, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    4. Sara J. Solnick & David Hemenway, 2005. "Are Positional Concerns Stronger in Some Domains than in Others?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 147-151, May.
    5. Fredrik Carlsson & Pham Khanh Nam & Martin Linde-Rahr & Peter Martinsson, 2007. "Are Vietnamese farmers concerned with their relative position in society?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(7), pages 1177-1188.
    6. Falk, Armin & Knell, Markus, 2004. "Choosing the Joneses: Endogenous Goals and Reference Standards," IZA Discussion Papers 1152, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Markus Knell, 1999. "Social Comparisons, Inequality, and Growth," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(4), pages 664-, December.
    8. Fredrik Carlsson & Olof Johansson-Stenman & Peter Martinsson, 2007. "Do You Enjoy Having More than Others? Survey Evidence of Positional Goods," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 586-598, November.
    9. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
    10. J. Solnick, Sara & Hemenway, David, 1998. "Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 373-383, November.
    11. Alois Stutzer, . "The Role of Income Aspirations in Individual Happiness," IEW - Working Papers 124, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
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    Cited by:
    1. Carlsson, Fredrik & Qin, Ping, 2010. "It is better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix: Concern for relative standing in rural China," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 180-186, April.
    2. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564985 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Andersson, Fredrik W., 2006. "Consumption Theory with Reference Dependent Utility," Working Papers in Economics 226, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

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