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Status, Inequality and Growth

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Abstract

In this paper, we investigate whether, because of differing social organisation, the effect of greater equality may have opposing effects on economic growth in different societies. We investigate a simple endogenous growth model where agents care about their status. This is determined by their ordinal rank in the distribution of consumption. In such a situation, each individual's problem becomes strategic as her utility will depend on the consumption choices of others, so that the equilibrium consumption and investment choices depend on the distribution of income. In this model, if individuals are concerned with their status when young, greater equality leads to more intense competition for status and thus higher levels of conspicuous consumption for a large mass of individuals, with a possibility of lower investment, and thus lower growth. If individuals are concerned with their status when old, the results are reversed.

Suggested Citation

  • Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Status, Inequality and Growth," ESE Discussion Papers 123, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:123
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cooper, Ben & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Funk, Peter, 2001. "Status Effects and Negative Utility Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 642-665, July.
    2. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-299, September.
    3. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Postlewaite, Andrew, 1998. "The social basis of interdependent preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 779-800, May.
    6. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
    7. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Tsoukis & Frédéric Tournemaine, 2013. "Status In A Canonical Macro Model: Labour Supply, Growth And Inequality," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 81, pages 65-92, October.
    2. Yutaro Hatta, 2013. "Wealth Distribution Dynamics with Status Preference: asymmetric motivations for status," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 13-08, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    3. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Consumption, Status and Redistribution," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000549, UCLA Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    status; relative standing; income inequality; growth; consumption externalities;

    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
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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