IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v83y2012i3p353-371.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Consumption and social identity: Evidence from India

Author

Listed:
  • Khamis, Melanie
  • Prakash, Nishith
  • Siddique, Zahra

Abstract

We examine spending on consumption items which have signaling value in social interactions across groups with distinctive social identities in India, where social identities are defined by caste and religious affiliations. Using nationally representative micro data on household consumption expenditures, we find that disadvantaged caste groups such as Other Backward Castes spend 8 percent more on visible consumption than Brahmin and High Caste groups while social groups such as Muslims spend 14 percent less, after controlling for differences in permanent income, household assets and household demographic composition. The differences across social groups are significant and robust and these differences persist within different sub populations. We find that the higher spending of OBC households on visible consumption is diverted from education spending, while Muslim households divert spending from visible consumption and education towards greater food spending. Additionally, we find that these consumption patterns can be partly explained as a result of the status signaling nature of the consumption items. We also discuss alternative sources of differences in consumption patterns across groups which stem from religious observance.

Suggested Citation

  • Khamis, Melanie & Prakash, Nishith & Siddique, Zahra, 2012. "Consumption and social identity: Evidence from India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 353-371.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:83:y:2012:i:3:p:353-371
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.07.002
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268112001345
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Nikolai Roussanov, 2009. "Conspicuous Consumption and Race," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 425-467.
    2. Robert H. Frank, 2005. "Positional Externalities Cause Large and Preventable Welfare Losses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 137-141, May.
    3. Basu, Kaushik, 1989. "A Theory of Association: Social Status, Prices and Markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 653-671, October.
    4. Peter Kuhn & Peter Kooreman & Adriaan Soetevent & Arie Kapteyn, 2011. "The Effects of Lottery Prizes on Winners and Their Neighbors: Evidence from the Dutch Postcode Lottery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2226-2247, August.
    5. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    6. Francis Bloch & Vijayendra Rao & Sonalde Desai, 2004. "Wedding Celebrations as Conspicuous Consumption: Signaling Social Status in Rural India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
    7. Ori Heffetz, 2011. "A Test of Conspicuous Consumption: Visibility and Income Elasticities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1101-1117, November.
    8. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
    9. Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-1028, September.
    10. Siddique, Zahra, 2011. "Evidence on Caste Based Discrimination," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages 146-159.
    11. Moav, Omer & Neeman, Zvika, 2008. "Conspicuous Consumption, Human Capital and Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 6864, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    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. 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. Ireland, Norman J., 1994. "On limiting the market for status signals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 91-110, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Fontaine, Xavier & Yamada, Katsunori, 2014. "Caste Comparisons in India: Evidence From Subjective Well-Being Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 407-419.
    2. König, Tobias & Lausen, Tobias, 2016. "Relative consumption preferences and public provision of private goods," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2016-213, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Bert Van Landeghem & Anneleen Vandeplas, 2016. "Lower in Rank, but Happier: The Complex Relationship between Status and Happiness," Working Papers id:11441, eSocialSciences.
    4. Eve Sihra, 2017. "Consumption, Social Interactions and Preferences," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1ej8deo44v9, Sciences Po.
    5. Sugata Marjit & Sattwik Santra & Koushik Kumar Hati, 2015. "Relative Social Status and Conflicting Measures of Poverty - A Behavioral Analytical Model," Discussion Papers Series 543, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    6. König, Tobias & Lausen, Tobias, 2017. "Relative Consumption Preferences and Public Provision of Private Goods," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 18, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    7. Santra, Sattwik & Chaudhury, Ranajoy, 2015. "The American Pride and Aspiration," MPRA Paper 61649, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Xavier Fontaine & Katsunori Yamada, 2013. "Caste Comparisons: Evidence from India," ISER Discussion Paper 0867, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    9. repec:tek:journl:v:5:y:2016:i:1:p:71-107 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:wdevel:v:104:y:2018:i:c:p:154-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Clément Bellet, 2017. "Essays on Inequality, Social Preferences and Consumer Behavior," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/vbu6kd1s68o, Sciences Po.
    12. Saravana Jaikumar & Ankur Sarin, 2015. "Conspicuous consumption and income inequality in an emerging economy: evidence from India," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 279-292, September.
    13. Clément Bellet & Eve Sihra, 2016. "Less Food for More Status: Caste Inequality and Conspicuous Consumption in India," Sciences Po publications 56, Sciences Po.
    14. van Landeghem, Bert & Vandeplas, Anneleen, 2017. "The Relationship between Status and Happiness: Evidence from the Caste System in Rural India," IZA Discussion Papers 11099, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Bauer, Rob & Smeets, Paul, 2015. "Social identification and investment decisions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 121-134.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Households; Consumption; India;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:83:y:2012:i:3:p:353-371. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.