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Do positional preferences for wealth and consumption cause inter-temporal distortions?

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  • Ronald Wendner

    () (University of Graz)

Abstract

This paper derives necessary and sufficient conditions under which positional preferences do not induce inter-temporal distortions. When labor supply is exogenous, positional preferences for consumption have been shown to be non-distortionary for a class of models. However, it has not been explored whether the same holds when households also exhibit positional preferences for wealth. The analysis identifies a restricted homogeneity-property which, when not satisfied, induces positional preferences to be distortionary, despite inelastic labor supply. Without positional preferences for wealth, a constant marginal rate of substitution-property is necessary and sufficient for a consumption positionality to be non-distortionary. Once a household also has positional preferences for wealth in addition, the consumption positionality almost always becomes distortionary, as the implied effects of the positional concerns induce opposing effects on a household's saving behavior. Under a constant marginal rates of substitution-property, these opposing effects exactly offset each other.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald Wendner, 2015. "Do positional preferences for wealth and consumption cause inter-temporal distortions?," Graz Economics Papers 2015-03, University of Graz, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:grz:wpaper:2015-03
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    Cited by:

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    2. Hof, Franz X. & Prettner, Klaus, 2019. "The quest for status and R&D-based growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 290-307.
    3. Schünemann, Johannes & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "Boosting taxes for boasting about houses: Status concerns in the housing market," ECON WPS - Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 05/2017, TU Wien, Institute of Statistics and Mathematical Methods in Economics, Economics Research Unit.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Status; keeping up with the Joneses; positional preferences; distortion; endogenous growth; Ak model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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