Social status in economic theory: a review
Social distinction or status is an important motivation of human behaviour. This paper provides a selective survey of recent advances in the economic analysis of the origins and consequences of social status. First, a selection of empirical research from a variety of scientific disciplines is discussed to underpin the further theoretical analysis. I then consider the origins and determinants of tastes for status, discuss the endogenous derivation of such a preferences for relative standing and assess the different formalisations these preferences. Subsequently, the consequences of preferences for status are studied for a variety of problems and settings. The last section discusses a number of implications of status concerns for normative economics and public policy.
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