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Do You Enjoy Having More Than Others? Survey Evidence of Positional Goods

Author

Listed:
  • Carlsson, Fredrik

    () (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Martinsson, Peter

    () (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

Although conventional economic theory proposes that only the absolute levels of income and consumption matter for people’s utility, there is much evidence that relative concerns are often important. This paper uses a survey-experimental method to measure people’s perceptions of the degree to which such concerns matter, i.e. the degree of positionality. Based on a representative sample in Sweden, income and cars are found to be highly positional, on average. This is in contrast to leisure and car safety, which may even be completely non-positional.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Martinsson, Peter, 2003. "Do You Enjoy Having More Than Others? Survey Evidence of Positional Goods," Working Papers in Economics 100, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0100 Note: Published in Economics, 2007, Vol. 74. pp. 586-598
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Relative income; relative consumption; positional goods; survey-experimental method; marginal degree of positionality;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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