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Social status competition and the impact of income inequality in evolving social networks: An agent-based model

Armenak Antinyan, Gergely Horvath () and Mofei Jia

Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), 2019, vol. 79, issue C, 53-69

Abstract: In this paper, we consider conspicuous consumption in a model in which individuals compare themselves to their social network neighbors in terms of the amount of a status good purchased. Individuals are heterogeneous with respect to income and can change their network links based on utility considerations. We study the impact of income inequality and income redistribution on status competition and individual welfare. We find that individuals with similar income levels tend to be connected to each other in the social network emerging in the long run. Under these circumstances, the income redistribution does not significantly affect the income share spent on the status good and the relative status of individuals. In a relatively equal society, individuals with below median income levels are better off in terms of welfare, everybody else is worse off. The aggregate effect of income redistribution on welfare is negative.

Keywords: Social status; Conspicuous consumption; Social networks; Inequality; Income redistribution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D85 D31 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:soceco:v:79:y:2019:i:c:p:53-69

DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2018.12.008

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Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics) is currently edited by Ofer Azar

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