Earlier today I said about Luxury Fever:
While that was true of that book, I wondered if Frank had offered evidence elsewhere. I didn’t find any mentioned in a half dozen academic articles I read at his website, but searching more widely I found four articles with data on comparative positionality.
In Economica in 2007, Carlsson, Johansson-Stenman and Martinsson reported:
be highly positional, on average, in contrast to leisure and car safety.
In the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (JEBO) in 2005, Alpizar, Carlsson, and Johansson-Stenman reported:
In the American Economic Review in 2005, Solnick and Hemenway reported:
We did not find any significant influence of age, gender or income. … Goods (e.g. eat out at a restaurant, playgrounds in the neighborhood) were more positional than bads (e.g. unpleasant dental procedures, potholes in your neighborhood). … Subjects were more likely to make positional choices for public goods than for private goods. … Health and safety issues were among the least positional.
In 1998 in JEBO the same authors reported:
Physical attractiveness and intelligence among the most positional goods and vacation time the least. … Positional answers were more common when choosing for one’s child. … Answers for two bads … were among the least positional. … [Results] did not differ by any demographic category, except that students were more likely to make positional choices than either faculty or staff. … The largest and most significant effects of student’s status were seen for questions on their own attractiveness and their child’s attractiveness.