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Positional Preferences and Efficiency in a Dynamic Economy

Aronsson, Thomas and Ghosh, Sugata and Wendner, Ronald (2021): Positional Preferences and Efficiency in a Dynamic Economy.

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In an endogenous growth model, we characterize the conditions under which positional preferences for consumption and wealth do not cause inefficiency and derive an optimal tax policy response in cases where these condi- tions are not satisfied. The concerns for relative consumption and relative wealth partly emanate from social comparisons with people in other coun- tries. We distinguish between a (conventional) welfarist government and a non-welfarist government that does not attach any social value to rela- tive concerns. We also compare the outcome of Nash-competition among local/national governments with the resource allocation implied by a global social optimum both under welfarism and non-welfarism.

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