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The quest for status and endogenous labor supply: the relative wealth framework

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  • Walter Fisher

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  • F. Hof

Abstract

This paper introduces the quest for status into the Ramsey model with endogenous labor supply. We focus our attention on relative wealth preferences. In contrast to relative consumption preferences, they allow for the possibility that agents work too little in the long run, while under both specifications the steady-state levels of consumption and the stock of physical capital exceed their socially optimal counterparts. The initial phase of transitional dynamics is unambiguously characterized by under-consumption and excessive work effort. The social optimum can be replicated by taxing capital income, where the optimal tax rate increases as physical capital accumulates.
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Suggested Citation

  • Walter Fisher & F. Hof, 2008. "The quest for status and endogenous labor supply: the relative wealth framework," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 93(2), pages 109-144, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jeczfn:v:93:y:2008:i:2:p:109-144
    DOI: 10.1007/s00712-007-0297-8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gene M. Grossman (ed.), 1996. "Economic Growth," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 553, April.
    2. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-116, March.
    3. Michael J. Boskin & Eytan Sheshinski, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation When Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601.
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    5. Van Long, Ngo & Shimomura, Koji, 2004. "Relative wealth, status-seeking, and catching-up," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 529-542, April.
    6. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Keeping Up with the Joneses: Consumption Externalities, Portfolio Choice, and Asset Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 1-8, February.
    7. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2001. "On relative-wealth effects and long-run growth," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 349-358, December.
    8. Walter H. Fisher, 2004. "Status Preference, Wealth and Dynamics in the Open Economy," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(3), pages 335-355, August.
    9. Bill Dupor & Wen-Fang Liu, 2003. "Jealousy and Equilibrium Overconsumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 423-428, March.
    10. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "On relative wealth effects and the optimality of growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 87-92, January.
    11. Persson, Mats, 1995. " Why Are Taxes So High in Egalitarian Societies?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 569-580, December.
    12. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2001. " Status, the Distribution of Wealth, and Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(2), pages 283-293, June.
    13. Futagami, Koichi & Shibata, Akihisa, 1998. "Keeping one step ahead of the Joneses: Status, the distribution of wealth, and long run growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 109-126, July.
    14. Walter Fisher & Franz Hof, 2000. "Relative consumption, economic growth, and taxation," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 241-262, October.
    15. Wen-Fang Liu & Stephen Turnovsky, 2003. "Consumption Externalities, Production Externalities, and the Accumulation of Capital," Working Papers UWEC-2002-13-P, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2003.
    16. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
    17. Fisher, Walter H. & Hof, Franz X., 2005. "Status seeking in the small open economy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 209-232, June.
    18. Fisher, Walter H. & Hof, Franz X., 2000. "Relative Consumption and Endogenous Labour Supply in the Ramsey Model: Do Status-Conscious People Work Too Much?," Economics Series 85, Institute for Advanced Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fisher, Walter H. & Heijdra, Ben J., 2009. "Keeping up with the ageing Joneses," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 53-64, January.
    2. Schünemann, Johannes & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "Boosting taxes for boasting about houses: Status concerns in the housing market," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 05/2017, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    3. Hof, Franz X. & Prettner, Klaus, 2016. "The quest for status and R&D-based growth," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 01/2016, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    4. Jun-ichi Itaya & Naoshige Kanamori, 2010. "Consumption taxation, social status and indeterminacy in models of endogenous growth with elastic labor supply," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 100(2), pages 141-163, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    status; relative consumption; relative wealth; endogenous labor supply; D62; D91; E21;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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