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Consumption, Status and Redistribution


  • Ed Hopkins
  • Tatiana Kornienko


This paper considers the effect of inequality when there are concerns for status. We analyse the effects of linear redistributive taxes in an economy where agents' utility depends both on consumption and on their rank in the distribution of consumption of a positional good. This increase in equality increases the degree of social competition. The equilibrium level of expenditure on the positional good rises for most agents with the possible exception of some with above average income. Equilibrium utility falls for those with average and above income, while the utility of the poor may (or may not) rise.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Consumption, Status and Redistribution," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000549, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000000549

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
    3. Robson, Arthur J, 1992. "Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 837-857, July.
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    5. Hopkins, Ed & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2006. "Inequality and growth in the presence of competition for status," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 291-296, November.
    6. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Status, Inequality and Growth," ESE Discussion Papers 123, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    7. Senik, Claudia, 2004. "When information dominates comparison: Learning from Russian subjective panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2099-2123, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities

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