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Less is more: Why some domains are more positional than others

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  • Bogaerts, Tess
  • Pandelaere, Mario

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that people’s concern about their position relative to a reference group (i.e., positional concern) is stronger in some domains than in others. Our survey data reveals that people care more about their relative position in domains where they have to engage in social comparison to evaluate outcomes. People thus tend to have strong positional concerns in domains with a high level of need for comparison. Moreover, we demonstrate that making social comparisons not directly elicit positional concerns, but trigger a competitive mindset making people want to be better off than others in society.

Suggested Citation

  • Bogaerts, Tess & Pandelaere, Mario, 2013. "Less is more: Why some domains are more positional than others," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 225-236.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:39:y:2013:i:c:p:225-236
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2013.08.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:eee:socmed:v:192:y:2017:i:c:p:49-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:57:y:2019:i:2:p:792-812 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:taf:jgsmks:v:27:y:2017:i:2:p:136-147 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Positional concerns; Relative evaluation; Status; Social comparisons; Competition;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods

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