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Status, endogenous reference standards, and the growth-inequality relation: A note

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  • Tournemaine, frederic
  • Tsoukis, Chris

Abstract

We develop an endogenous growth model with heterogeneous agents who care about their status in society. Following the social psychology literature, we formalise the idea that the reference standard to which people compare themselves is a choice variable. In such a framework, we analyse the determinants of the choice of the reference standard and their effects on growth and distribution. We show that low skilled individuals can end up with a higher level of income than high skilled individuals if their level of ambition is high enough. This is because what matters for the choice of reference standard and inequality is the combination of skills and ambitions of individuals. Moreover, as skills and ambitions affect positively growth, we find that growth and inequalities can be either negatively or positively correlated.

Suggested Citation

  • Tournemaine, frederic & Tsoukis, Chris, 2008. "Status, endogenous reference standards, and the growth-inequality relation: A note," MPRA Paper 10420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10420
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-382, May.
    3. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    4. Pham, Thi Kim Cuong, 2005. "Economic growth and status-seeking through personal wealth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 407-427, June.
    5. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 359-381.
    6. Partridge, Mark D, 1997. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth? Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1019-1032, December.
    7. Jürgen Maurer & André Meier, 2008. "Smooth it Like the “Joneses?†Estimating Peer-Group Effects in Intertemporal Consumption Choice," MEA discussion paper series 08167, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    8. Tournemaine, Frederic & Tsoukis, Christopher, 2008. "Relative consumption, relative wealth and growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 314-316, August.
    9. Fershtman, Chaim & Murphy, Kevin M & Weiss, Yoram, 1996. "Social Status, Education, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 108-132, February.
    10. Chris Tsoukis, 2007. "Keeping Up With The Joneses, Growth, And Distribution," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(4), pages 575-600, September.
    11. Tournemaine, Frederic & Tsoukis, Christopher, 2010. "Gain versus pain from status and ambition: Effects on growth and inequality," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 286-294, April.
    12. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "On relative wealth effects and the optimality of growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 87-92, January.
    13. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    14. Frederic Tournemaine, 2008. "Social aspirations and choice of fertility: why can status motive reduce per-capita growth?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(1), pages 49-66, January.
    15. Armin Falk & Markus Knell, 2004. "Choosing the Joneses: Endogenous Goals and Reference Standards," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 417-435, October.
    16. Futagami, Koichi & Shibata, Akihisa, 1998. "Keeping one step ahead of the Joneses: Status, the distribution of wealth, and long run growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 109-126, July.
    17. Walter Fisher & Franz Hof, 2000. "Relative consumption, economic growth, and taxation," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 241-262, October.
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    JEL classification:

    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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