Income Inequality, Status Seeking, and Consumption
AbstractUsing the Chinese urban household survey data between 1997 and 2006, we find that income inequality has a negative (positive) impact on households’ consumption (savings), even after we control for family income. We argue that people save to improve their social status when social status is associated with pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits. Rising income inequality can strengthen the incentives of status-seeking savings by increasing the benefit of improving status and enlarging the wealth level that is required for status upgrading. We also find that the negative effect of income inequality on consumption is stronger for poorer and younger people, and income inequality stimulates more education investment, which are consistent with the status seeking hypothesis.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 22641.
Date of creation: 01 May 2010
Date of revision: 10 May 2010
income inequality; social status; consumption and savings; status seeking; education investment;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- D91 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
- O16 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
- E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-05-22 (All new papers)
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