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Envy, leisure, and restrictions on working hours

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  • Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado

Abstract

We present a simple model of capital accumulation where agents care about their consumption relative to the consumption of other members of society, `envy,' In this context we quantify the extent of the distortions and welfare costs associated with envy. Under conservative estimates of envy we find that the implied welfare losses are substantial. We explore the implications of alternative policy arrangements designed to minimize the effects of the consumption externality. Our results suggest that if the optimal tax policy is not politically feasible, restrictions on working hours provide an alternative tool to induce a market outcome that resembles the efficient allocation achieved under a benevolent central planner.

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado, 2007. "Envy, leisure, and restrictions on working hours," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1286-1310, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:40:y:2007:i:4:p:1286-1310
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Simone Valente, 2009. "International status seeking, trade, and growth leadership," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(2), pages 554-589, May.
    2. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Van Long, Ngo, 2011. "The relative income hypothesis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1489-1501, September.
    3. Tobias Koenig & Andreas Wagener, 2010. "Tax Structure and Government Expenditures under Tax Equity Norms," CESifo Working Paper Series 3205, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Goerke, Laszlo & Hillesheim, Inga, 2013. "Relative consumption, working time, and trade unions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 170-179.
    5. Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2012. "Work Hours in Chinese Enterprises: Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data," Monash Economics Working Papers 10-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    6. Malakhov, Sergey, 2013. "Эффект Веблена, Предельная Полезность Денег И Денежная Иллюзия
      [Veblen effect, marginal utility of money, and money illusion]
      ," MPRA Paper 51014, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Goerke, Laszlo, 2013. "Relative consumption and tax evasion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 52-65.
    8. Tim Friehe & Mario Mechtel & Markus Pannenberg, 2014. "Positional Income Concerns: Prevalence and Relationship with Personality and Economic Preferences," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201411, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    9. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Ngo Van Long, 2008. "A Permanent Income Version of the Relative Income Hypothesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 2361, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Goerke, Laszlo, 2013. "Profit sharing and relative consumption," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 167-169.
    11. Markus Knell, 2009. "The Work-and-Spend Cycle in a Globalized World," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(1), pages 491-498.
    12. Goerke, Laszlo & Pannenberg, Markus, 2013. "Keeping up with the Joneses: Income Comparisons and Labour Supply," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80033, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Ngo Van Long, 2008. "Relative Consumption and Resource Extraction," CIRANO Working Papers 2008s-27, CIRANO.
    14. Koenig, Tobias & Wagener, Andreas, 2013. "Tax structure and government expenditures with tax equity concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 137-153.
    15. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Van Long, Ngo, 2011. "Relative consumption and renewable resource extraction under alternative property-rights regimes," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 1028-1053.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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