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Ordinal vs cardinal status: Two examples

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  • Bilancini, Ennio
  • Boncinelli, Leonardo

Abstract

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.].

Suggested Citation

  • Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2008. "Ordinal vs cardinal status: Two examples," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 17-19, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:101:y:2008:i:1:p:17-19
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    1. Andrew E. Clark & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2006. "Effort, revenu et rang. Une étude expérimentale," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(3), pages 635-643.
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    5. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1998. "Social organization, status, and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 37-51, October.
    6. 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 108-132, February.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Cooper, Ben & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Funk, Peter, 2001. "Status Effects and Negative Utility Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 642-665, July.
    10. Samuel Bowles & Yongjin Park, 2005. "Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 397-412, November.
    11. 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.
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    13. 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 349-373, June.
    14. Robson, Arthur J, 1992. "Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 837-857, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wai Chiu Woo, 2016. "Quantity versus variety: Which aspect does status-seeking promote?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 63(2), pages 93-106, June.
    2. Bilancini, Ennio & D'Alessandro, Simone, 2012. "Long-run welfare under externalities in consumption, leisure, and production: A case for happy degrowth vs. unhappy growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 194-205.
    3. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2014. "Instrumental cardinal concerns for social status in two-sided matching with non-transferable utility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 174-189.
    4. S. Wouters & N. Exel & M. Donk & K. Rohde & W. Brouwer, 2015. "Do people desire to be healthier than other people? A short note on positional concerns for health," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 16(1), pages 47-54, January.
    5. Christopher Tsoukis & Frédéric Tournemaine, 2013. "Status In A Canonical Macro Model: Labour Supply, Growth And Inequality," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 81, pages 65-92, October.
    6. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2012. "Redistribution and the notion of social status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 651-657.
    7. repec:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:336:p:647-666 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ferrari, Luca, 2018. "Social limits to redistribution and conspicuous norms," Economics Discussion Papers 2018-30, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    9. Ennio Bilancini & Massimo D'Antoni, 2008. "Pensions and Intergenerational Risk-Sharing When Relative Consumption Matters," Department of Economics University of Siena 541, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    10. Oded Stark, 2017. "Migration when Social Preferences are Ordinal: Steady-state Population Distribution and Social Welfare," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(336), pages 647-666, October.
    11. Harald W. Lang, 2016. "You Are Not Alone: Experimental Evidence on Risk Taking When Social Comparisons Matter," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2016-12, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    12. Gallice, Andrea, 2018. "Social status, preferences for redistribution and optimal taxation: A survey," Economics Discussion Papers 2018-31, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    D0 Status Social comparison Ordinality Cardinality;

    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General

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