Growth, habit formation, and catching-up with the Joneses
When habits are introduced multiplicatively in a capital accumulation model, the consumers' objective function might fail to be concave. In this paper we provide conditions aimed at guaranteeing the existence of interior solutions to the consumers' problem. We also characterize the equilibrium path of two growth models with multiplicative habits: the internal habit formation model, where individual habits coincide with own past consumption, and the external habit formation (or catching-up with the Joneses) model, where habits arise from the average past consumption in the economy. We show that the introduction of external habits makes the equilibrium path inefficient during the transition towards the balanced growth path. We characterize in this context the optimal tax policy.
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