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Keeping up with the Joneses: Income Comparisons and Labour Supply

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  • Goerke, Laszlo
  • Pannenberg, Markus

Abstract

We investigate whether working time is related to the intensity of income comparisons and relative income. Our simple theoretical model demonstrates that the effects of relative income concerns depend on whether an individual can choose contractual working hours and/or overtime. In the empirical analysis we rely on novel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), which contains direct information on comparison intensity and perceived relative income with respect to predetermined reference groups. In line with our theoretical model we find that overtime rises with the intensity with which respondents compare their income to that of other individuals of the same occupation and that overtime declines with perceived relative income. This is consistent with 'Keeping up with the Joneses' preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Goerke, Laszlo & Pannenberg, Markus, 2013. "Keeping up with the Joneses: Income Comparisons and Labour Supply," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80033, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:80033
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Goerke, Laszlo & Hillesheim, Inga, 2013. "Relative consumption, working time, and trade unions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, pages 170-179.
    2. Tim Friehe & Mario Mechtel & Markus Pannenberg, 2014. "Positional Income Concerns: Prevalence and Relationship with Personality and Economic Preferences," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201411, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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