Positional goods and social welfare: a note on George Pendleton Watkins’ neglected contribution

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Abstract

Watkins's analysis of adventitious utility contains many aspects that are connectedto the contemporary debate on positional goods. First, Watkinsadventitious utility emerges from a process of social exclusion and can createnegative externalities, in the sense that positive consumption of one individualimplies negative consumption by another individual. Not only it createsnegative externalities on other individuals, but it can initiate a race-to-thebottom,where individuals waste an increasing amount of money on goodswhich do not possess any real utility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-472
Number of pages13
JournalEUROPEAN JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT
Volume25
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Social welfare
Social Welfare
Externalities
Social exclusion
Social Exclusion

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

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abstract = "Watkins's analysis of adventitious utility contains many aspects that are connectedto the contemporary debate on positional goods. First, Watkinsadventitious utility emerges from a process of social exclusion and can createnegative externalities, in the sense that positive consumption of one individualimplies negative consumption by another individual. Not only it createsnegative externalities on other individuals, but it can initiate a race-to-thebottom,where individuals waste an increasing amount of money on goodswhich do not possess any real utility.",
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AB - Watkins's analysis of adventitious utility contains many aspects that are connectedto the contemporary debate on positional goods. First, Watkinsadventitious utility emerges from a process of social exclusion and can createnegative externalities, in the sense that positive consumption of one individualimplies negative consumption by another individual. Not only it createsnegative externalities on other individuals, but it can initiate a race-to-thebottom,where individuals waste an increasing amount of money on goodswhich do not possess any real utility.

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