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Ordinal vs cardinal status: Two examples

  • Bilancini, Ennio
  • Boncinelli, Leonardo

We demonstrate that in models where agents have concerns for status the model predictions can drastically change depending on whether status is modelled as an ordinal or cardinal magnitude. As a proof, we show that two well known theoretical findings are not robust to the substitution of ordinal status with cardinal status [Frank, R.H., The Demand for Unobservable and Other Positional Goods. American Economic Review, (75):101-116, 1985.] and viceversa [Clark, A. and Oswald, R.J., Comparison-Concave Utility and Following Behavior in Social and Economic Settings. Journal of Public Economics, (70):133-155, 1998.].

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 101 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 17-19

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:101:y:2008:i:1:p:17-19
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  1. Samuel Bowles & Yongjin Park, 2004. "Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right?," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2004-14, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2006. "Effort, revenu et rang. Une étude expérimentale," Post-Print halshs-00754150, HAL.
  4. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative income, happiness, and utility: An explanation for the Easterlin paradox and other puzzles," Post-Print halshs-00754299, HAL.
  5. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2002. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," ESE Discussion Papers 92, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  6. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1998. "Social organization, status, and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 37-51, October.
  7. Cooper, Ben & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Funk, Peter, 2001. "Status Effects and Negative Utility Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 642-65, July.
  8. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1998. "Comparison-concave utility and following behaviour in social and economic settings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-155, October.
  9. 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.
  10. Fershtman, Chaim & Murphy, Kevin M & Weiss, Yoram, 1996. "Social Status, Education, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 108-32, February.
  11. Robson, Arthur J, 1992. "Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 837-57, July.
  12. Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
  13. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
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