IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Conspicuous Consumption, Inconspicuous Leisure

  • KennethJ. Arrow
  • ParthaS. Dasgupta

It is commonly argued that because relative consumption appears to matter to people, they must be involved in a 'rat race': people work harder and consume more than they would have were optimum public policies in place. But although consuming more today would improve one's relative consumption now, it would worsen one's relative consumption in the future. In this article we identify the structure of felicity functions for which the two effects offset each other exactly. The finding goes some way toward explaining why, while household surveys suggest that relative consumption matters, the consumption behaviour of households has not pointed unambiguously to the presence of relative consumption effects. Copyright � The Author(s). Journal compilation � Royal Economic Society 2009.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2009.02318.x
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 119 (2009)
Issue (Month): 541 (November)
Pages: F497-F516

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:541:p:f497-f516
Contact details of provider: Postal: Office of the Secretary-General, School of Economics and Finance, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 9AL, UK
Phone: +44 1334 462479
Web page: http://www.res.org.uk/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.blackwellpublishers.co.uk/asp/journal.asp?ref=0013-0133

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1984. "Optimal growth with many consumers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 139-171, February.
  2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  3. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. 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.
  5. Howarth, Richard B., 1996. "Status effects and environmental externalities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 25-34, January.
  6. Jürgen Maurer & André Meier, 2008. "Smooth it Like the “Joneses?†Estimating Peer-Group Effects in Intertemporal Consumption Choice," MEA discussion paper series 08167, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  7. Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and Public Policy: a Challenge to the Profession," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C24-C33, 03.
  8. Cooper, B. & Garcia-Penalosa, C., 1998. "Status Effects and Neganive Utility Growth," Economics Papers 150, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  9. Ireland, Norman J., 1994. "On limiting the market for status signals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 91-110, January.
  10. Karen E. Dynan, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumer Preferences: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 391-406, June.
  11. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  12. Jürgen Maurer & André Meier, 2008. "Smooth it Like the 'Joneses'? Estimating Peer-Group Effects in Intertemporal Consumption Choice," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(527), pages 454-476, 03.
  13. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  14. Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and public policy: a challenge to the profession," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47483, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  15. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-73, June.
  16. Choudhary, M. Ali & Levine, Paul, 2006. "Idle worship," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 77-83, January.
  17. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1987. "Relative-Income Effects and the Appropriate Level of Public Expenditure," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 293-300, June.
  18. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
  19. 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.
  20. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:119:y:2009:i:541:p:f497-f516. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.