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Consumption-Savings Decisions Under Upward-Looking Comparisons

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  • Schmid, Kai Daniel
  • Drechsel-Grau, Moritz

Abstract

We demonstrate that upward-looking comparisons induce "keeping up with the richer Joneses"-behavior. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we estimate the effect of reference consumption, defined as the consumption level of all households who are perceived to be richer, on household savings and consumption. When controlling for own income as well as unobserved individual and local area heterogeneity, an increase in reference consumption of 100 euros leads to an increase in consumption of up to 23 euros depending on the household's position in the income distribution. Our findings suggest that changing income inequality can have significant macroeconomic effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmid, Kai Daniel & Drechsel-Grau, Moritz, 2014. "Consumption-Savings Decisions Under Upward-Looking Comparisons," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100627, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc14:100627
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Cardacci & Francesco Saraceno, 2017. "Inequality and Imbalances : a Monetary Union Agent-Based Model," Sciences Po publications 30, Sciences Po.
    2. repec:jns:jbstat:v:238:y:2018:i:1:p:3-32:n:3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Quintana-Domeque, Climent & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2016. "“Relative concerns for consumption at the top”: An intertemporal analysis for the UK," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 172-194.
    4. Stockhammer, Engelbert & Wildauer, Rafael, 2017. "Expenditure cascades, low interest rates or property booms? Determinants of household debt in OECD countries," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 18276, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    5. Alberto Cardaci & Francesco Saraceno, 2017. "Inequality and Imbalances : a Monetary Union Agent-Based Model," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2017-30, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    6. Micheli, Martin, 2015. "Does height affect labor supply? Implications of product variety and caloric needs," Ruhr Economic Papers 566, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    7. Christian Alexander Belabed, 2015. "Income Distribution and the Great Depression," IMK Working Paper 153-2015, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    8. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Japaridze, Irakli, 2017. "Trickle-down consumption, financial deregulation, inequality, and indebtedness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 1-26.
    9. Bofinger, Peter & Scheuermeyer, Philipp, 2016. "Income Distribution and Aggregate Saving: A Non-Monotonic Relationship," CEPR Discussion Papers 11435, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Philipp Poppitz, 2016. "Does self-perceptions and income inequality match?," IMK Working Paper 173-2016, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    11. Lukasz Walasek & Gordon D. A. Brown, 2016. "Income Inequality, Income, and Internet Searches for Status Goods: A Cross-National Study of the Association Between Inequality and Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 1001-1014, December.
    12. Späth Jochen & Schmid Kai Daniel, 2018. "The Distribution of Household Savings in Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 238(1), pages 3-32, February.
    13. repec:tek:journl:v:5:y:2016:i:1:p:71-107 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Alice Albonico & Alessia Paccagnini & Patrizio Tirelli, 2014. "Estimating a DSGE model with Limited Asset Market Participation for the Euro Area," Working Papers 286, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2014.
    15. Scheuermeyer, Philipp & Bofinger, Peter, 2016. "Income Distribution and Household Saving: A Non-Monotonic Relationship," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145901, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    16. Nadja König, 2016. "Household Debt and Macrodynamics - How do Income Distribution and Insolvency Regulations interact?," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201603, Hamburg University, Department Wirtschaft und Politik.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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