IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Status and Poverty


  • Omer Moav
  • Zvika Neeman


We present a model in which individuals' preferences are defined over their consumption, transfers to offspring, and social status associated with income. We show that a separating equilibrium exists where individuals' expenditure on conspicuous consumption is a signal for their unobserved income. In this equilibrium, poor families that climb up the social ladder by the accumulation of wealth engage in conspicuous consumption that prevents them from escaping poverty. Our model may explain why the poor make some choices that do not appear to help them escape poverty. (JEL: D91, O11, O12, O15) (c) 2010 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Omer Moav & Zvika Neeman, 2010. "Status and Poverty," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 413-420, 04-05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:8:y:2010:i:2-3:p:413-420

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dasgupta, Partha & Ray, Debraj, 1986. "Inequality as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Unemployment: Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1011-1034, December.
    2. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11150-015-9306-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Van Long, Ngo, 2011. "The relative income hypothesis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1489-1501, September.
    3. Kevin B. Grier & Daniel L. Hicks & Weici Yuan, 2016. "Marriage Market Matching And Conspicuous Consumption In China," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(2), pages 1251-1262, April.
    4. Danzer, Alexander M. & Dietz, Barbara & Gatskova, Ksenia & Schmillen, Achim, 2014. "Showing off to the new neighbors? Income, socioeconomic status and consumption patterns of internal migrants," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 230-245.
    5. Tim Friehe & Mario Mechtel, 2012. "Conspicuous Consumption and Communism: Evidence from East and West Germany," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201203, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    6. Allen, Jeffrey & Chakraborty, Shankha, 2015. "Aspirations, Health and the Cost of Inequality," MPRA Paper 64087, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & El-Attar, Mayssun, 2012. "Income Inequality and Saving," IZA Discussion Papers 7083, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Tim Friehe & Mario Mechtel, 2017. "Gambling to leapfrog in status?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 1291-1319, December.
    9. Chi, Feng & Yang, Nathan, 2010. "Wealth and Status: Analyzing the Perceived Attractiveness of 2010 FIFA World Cup Players," MPRA Paper 23881, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Jinkins, David, 2016. "Conspicuous consumption in the United States and China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 115-132.
    11. Omer Moav and & Zvika Neeman, 2012. "Saving Rates and Poverty: The Role of Conspicuous Consumption and Human Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 933-956, September.
    12. Vincenzo Lombardo, 2012. "Social inclusion and the emergence of development traps," Discussion Papers 13_2012, CRISEI, University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    13. 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).
    14. Holger Strulik, 2015. "How Status Concerns Can Make Us Rich and Happy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 82, pages 1217-1240, December.
    15. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-58 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:116-132 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Marjit, Sugata & Roy, Ranjan, 2010. "Conflicting Measures of Poverty and Inadequate Saving by the Poor – The Role of Status Driven Utility Function," MPRA Paper 27472, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Marjit, Sugata & Roychowdhury, Punarjit, 2011. "Status, Poverty and Trade," MPRA Paper 33730, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. 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.
    20. Friehe, Tim & Mechtel, Mario, 2014. "Conspicuous consumption and political regimes: Evidence from East and West Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 62-81.
    21. Vincenzo Lombardo, 2012. "Relative consumption and poverty traps," Discussion Papers 11_2012, CRISEI, University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    22. Marjit, Sugata, 2012. "Conflicting Measures of Poverty and Inadequate Saving by the Poor," WIDER Working Paper Series 058, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    23. David Chivers, 2017. "Success, Survive or Escape? Aspirations and Poverty Traps," Working Papers 2017_06, Durham University Business School.
    24. Canidio, Andrea, 2015. "Focusing effect and the poverty trap," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 222-238.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


    Access and download statistics


    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:tpr:jeurec:v:8:y:2010:i:2-3:p:413-420. 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: (Kristin Waites). General contact details of provider: .

    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.