Who Sees What? Demographics and the Visibility of Consumer Expenditures

40 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2007 Last revised: 22 Sep 2013

See all articles by Ori Heffetz

Ori Heffetz

Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management; The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics and Center for Rationality; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 28, 2011

Abstract

A growing body of work on social phenomena (like status, peer effects, social comparisons, fashion, etc.) rests on assumptions regarding the social observability of consumption activities. The present paper provides new empirical evidence for assessing such assumptions. We analyze data from a unique visibility survey, designed to quantify the relative "cultural" visibility of different consumer expenditures among U.S. households. We investigate the relationship between respondents' demographics and the expenditures they perceive as visible. We discuss implications for existing and future work.

Keywords: expenditure visibility, expenditure observability, conspicuous consumption, survey data, visibility subcultures

JEL Classification: J1, Z13

Suggested Citation

Heffetz, Ori, Who Sees What? Demographics and the Visibility of Consumer Expenditures (December 28, 2011). Journal of Economic Psychology, 33(4): 801–818. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1004545 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1004545

Ori Heffetz (Contact Author)

Cornell University - S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

324 Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics and Center for Rationality

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL Jerusalem 91905
Israel

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~heffetz

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