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Demand for Luxury Goods in a World of Income Disparities

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  • Anna Ray

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Antoine Vatan

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LMA - Laboratoire de macroéconomie - Centre de Recherche en Économie et STatistique (CREST))

Abstract

This paper approaches international trade in luxury goods from demand side. It associates demand for luxury goods with within-country income disparities, via a social interactions component, the so-called Veblen effect (Veblen 1899). In the theoretical part, we propose a simple model of vertical differentiation with preferences displaying a Veblen effect. The model predicts that demand for luxury goods increases with the income gap between the two socio-economic groups (wealthy and non-wealthy agents). Furthermore, wealthy individuals in societies with higher income disparities have higher incentives to purchase luxury goods and hence they are willing to pay more for these. Next, we provide an empirical validation of these predictions on a sample of French high-end exporters (as defined by Martin and Mayneris, 2013) from French 8-digit CN custom data for 2006 at firm-product-destination level. Both demand for and average firm-product unit values of luxury goods are increasing with the income gap in importer country. The relationship is robust to inclusion of control variables as well as to use of alternative measures of income dispersion.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Ray & Antoine Vatan, 2013. "Demand for Luxury Goods in a World of Income Disparities," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00959398, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-00959398
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-pse.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00959398
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin, Julien, 2012. "Markups, quality, and transport costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 777-791.
    2. Julien MARTIN & Florian MAYNERIS, 2013. "High-End Variety Exporters Defying Distance: Micro Facts and Macroeconomic Implications," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2013027, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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    8. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2000. "A Ricardian Model with a Continuum of Goods under Nonhomothetic Preferences: Demand Complementarities, Income Distribution, and North-South Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1093-1120, December.
    9. Bastos, Paulo & Silva, Joana, 2010. "The quality of a firm's exports: Where you export to matters," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 99-111, November.
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    12. Choi, Yo Chul & Hummels, David & Xiang, Chong, 2009. "Explaining import quality: The role of the income distribution," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 293-303, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin, Julien & Mayneris, Florian, 2015. "High-end variety exporters defying gravity: Micro facts and aggregate implications," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 55-71.
    2. Reza Tajaddini & Hassan F. Gholipour, 2018. "Control of Corruption and Luxury Goods Consumption," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 613-641, November.
    3. Martin, Julien & Mayneris, Florian, 2015. "High-end variety exporters defying gravity: Micro facts and aggregate implications," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 55-71.

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    Keywords

    International Trade; Luxury Goods; Veblen Effects;
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