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How status concerns can make us rich and happy

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  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

This paper considers an overlapping generations model of economic growth populated by two types of individuals. Competitive types compare future consumption (i.e. wealth) with the mean. Self-sufficient types derive utility simply from their own consumption and do not compare themselves with others. I derive a condition under which the utility (happiness) of both types increases when the economy is populated by a larger share of competitive types. In the long-run the condition is always fulfilled when the economy is capable of economic growth. The reason for this phenomenon is that competitive types generate higher savings and thus higher aggregate capital stock and income per capita, which raises utility of both types. I show that the result is robust to the consideration of endogenous work effort and that a sufficiently high share of competitive types in a society can be inevitable for long-run economic growth to exist.

Suggested Citation

  • Strulik, Holger, 2013. "How status concerns can make us rich and happy," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 170, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:170
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schünemann, Johannes & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "Boosting taxes for boasting about houses: Status concerns in the housing market," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 05/2017, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    2. Hof, Franz X. & Prettner, Klaus, 2016. "The quest for status and R&D-based growth," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 01/2016, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    3. Barnett, Richard & Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Bunzel, Helle, 2016. "The Fight-or-Flight Response to the Joneses," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2016-12, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    status preferences; happiness; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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