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

Author

Listed:
  • Colin Ash

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • J. Malcolm Dowling

    (Singapore Management University and University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Colin Ash & J. Malcolm Dowling, 2008. "Positional goods… or positional people? Implications for taxation and happiness," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2008-62, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2008-62
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    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. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Positional concerns; Relative income; Leisure; Taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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