Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right?
AbstractWe investigate Veblen effects on work hours, namely the way that a desire to emulate the consumption standards of the rich induces longer work hours among the rest. Consistent with our model of these asymmetric social comparisons, greater inequality predicts longer work hours in ten OECD countries over the period 1963-1998. The country fixed effects estimates of the impact of inequality on hours are large, robust, and cannot be explained by conventional incentive effects. In the presence of Veblen effects, a social welfare optimum cannot be implemented by a flat tax on consumption but may be accomplished by progressive consumption taxes.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2004-14.
Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Interdependent utility; relative income; social comparisons; inequality; emulation; Veblen effects; work hours;
Other versions of this item:
- Samuel Bowles & Yongjin Park, 2005. "Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages F397-F412, November.
- Samuel Bowles & Yongjin Park, 2003. "Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right," Department of Economics University of Siena 409, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
- H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
- J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-12-12 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2004-12-12 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-LTV-2004-12-12 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-PBE-2004-12-12 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2004-12-12 (Post Keynesian Economics)
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