Thursday, August 7, 2008

Veblen Effects and Status Seeking

Thorstein Veblen argued that individuals have an innate desire to signal their wealth (and thereby obtain social status). In our department, both Curtis Eaton and I have done research on how this type of status seeking can affect behavior and economic outcomes. That said, I don't think either of us thought it would look like this:

Yesterday developer Armin Heinrich posted an iPhone app to the App Store called I Am Rich. The program displays a red gem, has no function but to display your wealth to others through ownership, and costs $1000.

Here's the complete post. (HT to Tyler Cowen.)

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