Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right?
We investigate Veblen effects on work hours, namely the way that a desire to emulate the consumption standards of the rich induces longer work hours among the rest. Consistent with our model of these asymmetric social comparisons, greater inequality predicts longer work hours in ten OECD countries over the period 1963-1998. The country fixed effects estimates of the impact of inequality on hours are large, robust, and cannot be explained by conventional incentive effects. In the presence of Veblen effects, a social welfare optimum cannot be implemented by a flat tax on consumption but may be accomplished by progressive consumption taxes.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.umass.edu/economics
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Richard B. Freeman, 2002.
"The Labour Market in the New Information Economy,"
NBER Working Papers
9254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard B. Freeman, 2002. "The labour market in the new information economy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20062, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Richard Freeman, 2002. "The Labour Market in the New Information Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0558, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- 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.
- Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996.
"Satisfaction and comparison income,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
- Eric Alden Smith & Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Costly Signaling and Cooperation," Working Papers 00-12-071, Santa Fe Institute.
- Ireland, Norman J., 1994. "On limiting the market for status signals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 91-110, January.
- Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
- Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, .
""Incorporating Concern for Relative Wealth into Economic Models'',"
CARESS Working Papres
95-14, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
- Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 1995. "Incorporating concern for relative wealth into economic models," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 12-21.
- Boskin, Michael J & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "Optimal Redistributive Taxation when Individual Welfare Depends upon Relative Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 589-601, November.
- Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-50, December.
- Linda Bell, 1998. "Differences in Work Hours and Hours Preferences by Race in the U.S," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(4), pages 481-500.
- Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "Conspicuous consumption, snobbism and conformism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 55-71, October.
- 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.
- Bell, Linda A. & Freeman, Richard B., 2001.
"The incentive for working hard: explaining hours worked differences in the US and Germany,"
Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 181-202, May.
- Linda A. Bell & Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "The Incentive for Working Hard: Explaining Hours Worked Differences in the U.S. and Germany," NBER Working Papers 8051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
- Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Poor, Relatively Speaking," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 153-69, July.
- David Neumark & Andrew Postlewaite, 1995.
"Relative Income Concerns and the Rise in Married Women's Employment,"
NBER Working Papers
5044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Neumark, David & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1998. "Relative income concerns and the rise in married women's employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 157-183, October.
- René Böheim & Mark P. Taylor, 2004.
"Actual and Preferred Working Hours,"
British Journal of Industrial Relations,
London School of Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 149-166, 03.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2004-14. 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: (Arslan Razmi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.