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Status-seeking and economic growth: the Barro model revisited

  • Thi Kim Cuong Pham

This paper reexamines the Barro growth model taking into account status-seeking behavior. Agents care about both consumption and social status, which is determined by their relative consumption in society. Public capital as production input is financed by income tax or lumpsum tax. We discuss different measures to reach the optimal growth and optimal welfare in a decentralized economy and find that under some parameter conditions, there are some government sizes for which the decentralized growth is optimal, and this result does not require corrective taxation policy. We also find the superiority of income tax versus lump-sum tax from the point of view of optimal growth in a decentralized economy and of social welfare. Besides, we propose corrective tax programs with constant capital tax or subsidy and time-varying consumption tax that enable an economy to reach the first-best optimal growth. The extension to a congestion model modifies somewhat the results. We discuss conditions under which the first-best or the secondbest optimal growth is attained in a decentralized economy.

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Paper provided by Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg in its series Working Papers of BETA with number 2012-06.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2012-06
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  1. Stephen J Turnovsky & Goncalo Monteiro, . "Consumption Externalities, Production Externalities and Efficient Capital Accumulation under Time Non-separable Preferences," Discussion Papers 05/08, Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. 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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  4. Marrero, Gustavo A. & Novales, Alfonso, 2005. "Growth and welfare: Distorting versus non-distorting taxes," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 403-433, September.
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  7. Michael Rauscher, 1997. "Conspicuous consumption, economic growth, and taxation," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 66(1), pages 35-42, February.
  8. Gomez, Manuel A., 2006. "Optimal consumption taxation in a model of endogenous growth with external habit formation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(3), pages 427-435, December.
  9. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  10. Gerhard Glomm & B. Ravikumar, 1994. "Growth-Inequality Trade-Offs in a Model with Public Sector R&D," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(2), pages 484-93, May.
  11. Ngo Van Long & Koji Shimomura, 2002. "Relative Wealth, Status Seeking, and Catching Up," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-09, CIRANO.
  12. McBride, Michael, 2001. "Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in the cross-section," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 251-278, July.
  13. Olof Johansson-Stenman & Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala, 2002. "Measuring Future Grandparents" Preferences for Equality and Relative Standing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 362-383, April.
  14. 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.
  15. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
  16. Wen-ya Chang, 2006. "Relative Wealth, Consumption Taxation, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 88(2), pages 103-129, 08.
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