Consumption and Social Identity: Evidence from India
We examine spending on consumption items which have signaling value in social interactions across groups with distinctive social identities in India, where social identities are defined by caste and religious affiliations. The classification of such items was done by eliciting responses to a survey in India. We match the results of our survey with nationally representative micro data on household consumption expenditures. We find that disadvantaged caste groups such as Other Backward Castes spend nine percent more on visible consumption than Brahmin and High Caste groups while social groups such as Muslims spend eleven percent less, after controlling for differences in permanent income and demographic composition of households. These differences are significant and robust. Additionally, we find that these differences can be partly explained as a result of the status signaling nature of such consumption items.
|Date of creation:||Dec 2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 2012, 83 (3), 353 - 371|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Nikolai Roussanov, 2009.
"Conspicuous Consumption and Race,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 124(2), pages 425-467, May.
- Moav, Omer & Neeman, Zvika, 2008. "Conspicuous Consumption, Human Capital and Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 6864, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Peter Kuhn & Peter Kooreman & Adriaan Soetevent & Arie Kapteyn, 2011.
"The Effects of Lottery Prizes on Winners and Their Neighbors: Evidence from the Dutch Postcode Lottery,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2226-47, August.
- Kuhn, Peter J. & Kooreman, Peter & Soetevent, Adriaan R. & Kapteyn, Arie, 2010. "The Effects of Lottery Prizes on Winners and their Neighbors: Evidence from the Dutch Postcode Lottery," IZA Discussion Papers 4950, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Glazer, Amihai & Konrad, Kai A, 1996. "A Signaling Explanation for Charity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 1019-28, September.
- Siddique, Zahra, 2011. "Evidence on Caste Based Discrimination," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages S146-S159.
- Ori Heffetz, 2011. "A Test of Conspicuous Consumption: Visibility and Income Elasticities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1101-1117, November.
- Francis Bloch & Vijayendra Rao & Sonalde Desai, 2004.
"Wedding Celebrations as Conspicuous Consumption: Signaling Social Status in Rural India,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
- Bloch, Francis & Rao, Vijayendra & Desai, Sonalde, 1999. "Wedding Celebrations as Conspicuous Consumption : Signaling Social Status in Rural India," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1999022, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
- Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2007.
"The Economic Lives of the Poor,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 21(1), pages 141-168, Winter.
- Robert H. Frank, 2005. "Positional Externalities Cause Large and Preventable Welfare Losses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 137-141, May.
- Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-73, June.
- Basu, Kaushik, 1989. "A Theory of Association: Social Status, Prices and Markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 653-71, October.
- Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899.
- Ireland, Norman J., 1994. "On limiting the market for status signals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 91-110, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5406. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.