Veblen Goods and Urban Distinction: The Economic Geography of Conspicuous Consumption

35 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2019

See all articles by Elizabeth Currid‐Halkett

Elizabeth Currid‐Halkett

University of Southern California

Hyojung Lee

University of Southern California - Lusk Center for Real Estate

Gary Painter

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

A fundamental observation of 21st century cities is that they have become great centers of consumption. In this paper, we seek to understand the geographic variation in consumer behavior. Using Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), we analyze how consumption differs across 21 major U.S. metropolitan areas, and the association between urban characteristics and consumption. We extend previous geographic analysis of consumption to include luxury goods that are socially visible (conspicuous consumption) and luxury goods that are relatively less visible (inconspicuous consumption). Our analysis shows that conspicuous consumption is more sensitive to an urban context than is inconspicuous consumption.

Keywords: conspicuous consumption, consumer city, metropolitan distinction, Veblen good

Suggested Citation

Currid‐Halkett, Elizabeth and Lee, Hyojung and Painter, Gary, Veblen Goods and Urban Distinction: The Economic Geography of Conspicuous Consumption (January 2019). Journal of Regional Science, Vol. 59, Issue 1, pp. 83-117, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3310906 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jors.12399

Elizabeth Currid‐Halkett (Contact Author)

University of Southern California

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Hyojung Lee

University of Southern California - Lusk Center for Real Estate ( email )

650 Childs Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
(323)719-0605 (Phone)

Gary Painter

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States
213-740-8754 (Phone)
213-740-0001 (Fax)

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