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Trade, Envy and Growth: International Status Seeking in a Two-Country World

This paper analyzes international status seeking in a two-country model of endogenous growth: utility of agents in developing countries is a¤ected by con- sumption gaps with the average consumer in advanced economies. By distorting terms of trade, status seeking: (i) may compensate for structural gaps in physical productivity, inducing convergence; (ii) may revert the link between trade and growth; and (iii) induces divergence when interacting with technological catching- up. In particular, envy in conjunction with catching-up predicts switchovers of growth leadership: when the advanced economy is both status- and technology- leader in the short run, convergence in interest rates - e.g. due to R&D spillovers - implies that the initially lagging economy becomes growth-leader in the long run, due to permanent price distortions induced by envy.

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Paper provided by CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich in its series CER-ETH Economics working paper series with number 06/53.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:06-53
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