IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Relative Income Hypothesis

  • Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado
  • Ngo Van Long

We propose an overlapping generations economy where households care about relative consumption, the difference between their consumption and the consumption of their reference group. An individual's consumption is driven by the comparison of his lifetime income and the lifetime income of his reference group; hence the paper offers a permanent income version of the Duesenberry's relative income hypothesis. Across households the saving ratio increases with income while aggregate saving is independent of the income distribution. Positional concerns lead agents to over-consume, over-work and under-save. We propose a simple tax schedule that induces the competitive economy to achieve the efficient allocation. Nous proposons une économie caractérisée par des générations imbriquées et des ménages qui accordent une importance à la consommation relative, soit la différence entre leur consommation et celle de leur groupe de référence. Les habitudes de consommation d'un individu sont dictées par la comparaison du revenu qu'il gagnera au cours de sa vie avec celui de son groupe de référence. Le document offre ainsi une version de l'hypothèse du revenu relatif avancée par Duesenberry qui tient compte du revenu permanent. Dans l'ensemble des ménages, le ratio d'épargne augmente en fonction du revenu, mais l'épargne globale est indépendante de la répartition du revenu. Les préoccupations des agents concernant leur position incitent ces derniers à consommer et à travailler de façon excessive et à épargner insuffisamment. Nous proposons un programme d'imposition qui encourage l'économie concurrentielle à atteindre une répartition efficiente.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cirano.qc.ca/files/publications/2008s-18.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2008s-18.

as
in new window

Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2008s-18
Contact details of provider: Postal:
1130 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, suite 1400, Montréal, Quéc, H3A 2M8

Phone: (514) 985-4000
Fax: (514) 985-4039
Web page: http://www.cirano.qc.ca/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Christopher D Carroll, 1997. "Why Do the Rich Save So Much?," Economics Working Paper Archive 388, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  2. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," CEPR Discussion Papers 6944, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative income, happiness, and utility: An explanation for the Easterlin paradox and other puzzles," Post-Print halshs-00754299, HAL.
  4. Andrew J. Oswald & Eugenio Proto & Daniel Sgroi, 2015. "Happiness and Productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 789 - 822.
  5. Liu, Wen-Fang & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2005. "Consumption externalities, production externalities, and long-run macroeconomic efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 1097-1129, June.
  6. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  7. Samuel Bowles & Yongjin Park, 2003. "Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right," Department of Economics University of Siena 409, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  8. 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.
  9. Joseph Altonji & Ernesto Villanueva, 2003. "The marginal propensity to spend on adult children," Economics Working Papers 667, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  10. Bénabou, Roland, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(3), pages 382-97, July.
  12. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
  13. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1985. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1045-76, December.
  14. A. Abel, 2010. "Asset prices under habit formation and catching up with the Jones," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1395, David K. Levine.
  15. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 10667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Davies, James B. & Shorrocks, Anthony F., 2000. "The distribution of wealth," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 605-675 Elsevier.
  17. 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.
  18. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  19. Karen E. Dynan & Enrichetta Ravina, 2007. "Increasing Income Inequality, External Habits, and Self-Reported Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 226-231, May.
  20. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2000. "Do the Rich Save More?," NBER Working Papers 7906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. David Neumark & Andrew Postlewaite, 1995. "Relative Income Concerns and the Rise in Married Women's Employment," NBER Working Papers 5044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  23. Caselli, G & Ventura, J, 1996. "A Representative Consumer Theory of Distribution," Papers 534, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  24. Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 16-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  25. Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Stephen Turnovsky, 2008. "Consumption externalities: a representative consumer model when agents are heterogeneous," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 439-467, December.
  26. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Goncalo Monteiro & Stephen J. Turnovsky, 2004. "Habit Formation, Catching Up with the Joneses, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 47-80, 03.
  27. 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.
  28. Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1995. "Saving and growth with habit formation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  29. Christopher D Carroll & Jody Overland & David N Weil, 1997. "Comparison Utility in a Growth Model," Economics Working Paper Archive 387, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  30. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  31. Wendner, Ronald, 2010. "Conspicuous consumption and generation replacement in a model of perpetual youth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1093-1107, December.
  32. Huggett, Mark & Ventura, Gustavo, 2000. "Understanding why high income households save more than low income households," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 361-397, April.
  33. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
  34. repec:nbr:nberbk:kuzn42-1 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado, 2006. "Envy, Leisure, And Restrictions On Working Hours," Departmental Working Papers 2006-01, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  36. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," NBER Working Papers 7894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. María J. Álvarez & Antonia Díaz, 2001. "Minimum Consumption And Transitional Dynamics In Wealth Distribution," Economics Working Papers we015013, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  39. Pollak, Robert A, 1976. "Interdependent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 309-20, June.
  40. J. Solnick, Sara & Hemenway, David, 1998. "Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 373-383, November.
  41. Olof Johansson-Stenman & Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala, 2002. "Measuring Future Grandparents" Preferences for Equality and Relative Standing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 362-383, April.
  42. repec:oup:restud:v:72:y:2005:i:1:p:21-42 is not listed on IDEAS
  43. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Ngo Van Long, 2008. "A Permanent Income Version of the Relative Income Hypothesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 2361, CESifo Group Munich.
  44. Alpizar, Francisco & Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2005. "How much do we care about absolute versus relative income and consumption?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 405-421, March.
  45. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1998. "Comparison-concave utility and following behaviour in social and economic settings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-155, October.
  46. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1998. "Social organization, status, and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 37-51, October.
  47. Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2002. "The Importance of Bequests and Life-Cycle Saving in Capital Accumulation: A New Answer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 274-278, May.
  48. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  49. 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.
  50. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "Discount rate heterogeneity and social security reform," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 117-146, October.
  51. Smith, Adam, 1759. "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1759.
  52. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  53. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
  54. repec:nbr:nberbk:frie57-1 is not listed on IDEAS
  55. Lawrance, Emily C, 1991. "Poverty and the Rate of Time Preference: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 54-77, February.
  56. Simon Kuznets, 1942. "Uses of National Income in Peace and War," NBER Chapters, in: Uses of National Income in Peace and War, pages 1-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  57. Dorothy S. Brady & Rose D. Friedman, 1947. "Savings and the Income Distribution," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Income and Wealth, pages 247-265 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2008s-18. 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: (Webmaster)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.