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Positional goods… or positional people? Implications for taxation and happiness

  • Colin Ash


    (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • J. Malcolm Dowling

    (Singapore Management University and University of Hawaii at Manoa)

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    We report the results of surveys on positional concerns for income and leisure. The results confirm earlier evidence that a majority of people are positional regarding income. We also look at the distribution of both these positional concerns among our respondents, something which has not previously been investigated. Our findings point to the need for a more subtle approach than has previously been proposed for using taxation to correct distortions in the income-leisure choice.

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    Paper provided by Henley Business School, Reading University in its series Economics & Management Discussion Papers with number em-dp2008-62.

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    Length: 17 pages
    Date of creation: 14 Nov 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2008-62
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    1. J. Solnick, Sara & Hemenway, David, 1998. "Is more always better?: A survey on positional concerns," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 373-383, November.
    2. Oswald, Andrew J., 1983. "Altruism, jealousy and the theory of optimal non-linear taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 77-87, February.
    3. 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.
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