Who sees what? Demographics and the visibility of consumer expenditures
A growing body of work on social phenomena (like status, peer effects, social comparisons and fashion) rests on assumptions regarding the social observability of consumption activities. The present paper provides new empirical evidence for assessing such assumptions. We analyze data from a unique visibility survey, designed to quantify the relative “cultural” visibility of different consumer expenditures among US households. We investigate the relationship between respondents’ demographics and the expenditures they perceive as visible. We discuss implications for existing and future work.
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