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Toward an Economic Theory of Fashion

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  • Coelho, Philip R P
  • McClure, James E

Abstract

Competition for rank within animal societies is an innate drive recognized in sociobiological and evolutionary theory. In human societies, fashion signals social rank or status. The authors extend standard economic theories of competitive and noncompetitive markets to analyze fashion by including the status-seeking incentive. In the competitive case, the conditions under which fashion cycles occur are examined. In the noncompetitive case, producers of fashion services discriminate between customers intertemporally to sustain the fashionability of their services. Unlike the standard models of fashion that populate marketing textbooks, the authors' theory of fashion does not require that demand curves slope upward. Copyright 1993 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Coelho, Philip R P & McClure, James E, 1993. "Toward an Economic Theory of Fashion," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 595-608, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:31:y:1993:i:4:p:595-608
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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuela Randon, 2002. "L’analisi positiva dell’esternalità: rassegna della letteratura e nuovi spunti," Working Papers 58, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2002.
    2. Di Giovinazzo, Viviana & Naimzada, Ahmad, 2015. "A model of fashion: Endogenous preferences in social interaction," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 12-17.
    3. Sinha, Piyush Kumar & Thomas, Sujo & Patel, Ritesh, 2015. "The Legal Structure and Framework of Luxury Goods Market in India: Competitive or Restrictive Growth?," IIMA Working Papers WP2015-03-31, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    4. Giacomo Corneo & Olivier Jeanne, 1994. "Conspicuous Consumption and the Existence of Upward Sloping Demand Curves," Discussion Paper Serie A 461, University of Bonn, Germany.
    5. Federica Alberti, 2013. "A note on fashion cycles, novelty and conformity," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-019, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    6. Huffman, Wallace E. & Just, Richard E., 1995. "Transactions Costs, Fads, and Politically Motivated Misdirection in Agricultural Research," Working Papers 197818, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    7. Yang, Bijou & Lester, David, 1995. "New directions for economics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 433-446.
    8. Caulkins, Jonathan P. & Hartl, Richard F. & Kort, Peter M. & Feichtinger, Gustav, 2007. "Explaining fashion cycles: Imitators chasing innovators in product space," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 1535-1556, May.
    9. Kastanakis, Minas N. & Balabanis, George, 2012. "Between the mass and the class: Antecedents of the “bandwagon” luxury consumption behavior," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(10), pages 1399-1407.
    10. G.M. Peter Swann, 1999. "An Economic Analysis of Taste-A Review of Gary S. Becker: Accounting for Tastes," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 281-296.
    11. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1999. "Segmented communication and fashionable behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 371-385, July.
    12. Caulkins, J.P. & Feichtinger, G. & Grass, D. & Hartl, R.F. & Kort, P.M. & Seidl, A., 2011. "Optimal pricing of a conspicuous product during a recession that freezes capital markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 163-174, January.
    13. Wai Chiu Woo, 2016. "Quantity versus variety: Which aspect does status-seeking promote?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 63(2), pages 93-106, June.
    14. Frijters, Paul, 1998. "A model of fashions and status," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 501-517, October.
    15. Akhtar, Muhammad Ramzan, 1996. "Towards An Islamic Approach For Environmental Balance," Islamic Economic Studies, The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), vol. 3, pages 57-76.
    16. Bernard Dubois & Sandor Czellar & Gilles Laurent, 2005. "Consumer Segments Based on Attitudes Toward Luxury: Empirical Evidence from Twenty Countries," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 115-128, April.
    17. Giacomo Corneo & Olivier Jeanne, 1994. "A Theory of Fashion Based on Segmented Communication," Discussion Paper Serie A 462, University of Bonn, Germany.
    18. Philip R. P. Coelho & Daniel B. Klein & James E. McClure, 2005. "Rejoinder to Pesendorfer," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 2(1), pages 32-41, April.
    19. Caulkins, Jonathan P. & Feichtinger, Gustav & Grass, Dieter & Hartl, Richard F. & Kort, Peter M. & Seidl, Andrea, 2015. "Capital stock management during a recession that freezes credit markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 1-14.
    20. Coelho, Philip R. P. & McClure, James E., 1998. "Social context and the utility of wealth: Addressing the Markowitz challenge," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 305-314, November.
    21. McClure, James & Kumcu, Erdogan, 2008. "Promotions and product pricing: Parsimony versus Veblenesque demand," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 105-117, January.
    22. Krähmer, Daniel, 2005. "Advertising and Conspicuous Consumption," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 72, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    23. Kristen B. Cooper, 2017. "Consumer well-being in a future of accelerating novelty," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 315-335, April.
    24. DUBOIS, Bernard & LAURENT, Gilles & CZELLAR, Sandor, 2001. "Consumer rapport to luxury : Analyzing complex and ambivalent attitudes," Les Cahiers de Recherche 736, HEC Paris.
    25. Petal Jean Hackett, 2012. "Cutting too Close? Design Protection and Innovation in Fashion Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 3716, CESifo Group Munich.

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