Positional good

positional goodspositional externality
Positional goods are goods valued only by how they are distributed among the population, not by how many of them there are available in total as would be the case with other consumer goods.wikipedia
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Veblen good

VeblenVeblen goodsVeblen effect
More formally in economics, positional goods are a subset of economic goods whose consumption (and subsequent utility), also conditioned by Veblen-like pricing, depends negatively on consumption of those same goods by others.
A product may be a Veblen good because it is a positional good, something few others can own.

Status symbol

status symbolsflaunting social statusoutward signs of having "made it
The source of greater worth of positional goods is their desirability as a status symbol, which usually results in them greatly exceeding the value of comparable goods.

Ugo Pagano

The term was coined by Fred Hirsch, and the concept has been refined by Robert H. Frank and Ugo Pagano.
This has been done by introducing a new type of good – positional goods – which have been defined as having the opposite character of public goods.

Luxury goods

luxuryhigh-endluxury good
Various goods have been described as positional in a given capitalist society, such as gold, real estate, diamonds and luxury goods.

Conspicuous consumption

ostentationconspicuousconspicuously consumed
Although Thorstein Veblen emphasized the importance of one's relative position in society with reference to the concept of conspicuous leisure and consumption, it was Fred Hirsch who coined the concept of the "positional good", in Social Limits to Growth.
High levels of conspicuous consumption may be seen as socially undesirable on two grounds; firstly, as it is often associated with high relative income, high levels of conspicuous consumption may be an indicator of high levels of income inequality, which may be found intrinsically or instrumentally objectionable; secondly conspicuous consumption differs from other forms of consumption in that the main reason for the purchase of positional goods is not due to the additional direct utility provided by the goods alleged high quality, but rather the social prestige associated with the consumption of that good.

Fred Hirsch

The term was coined by Fred Hirsch, and the concept has been refined by Robert H. Frank and Ugo Pagano. Although Thorstein Veblen emphasized the importance of one's relative position in society with reference to the concept of conspicuous leisure and consumption, it was Fred Hirsch who coined the concept of the "positional good", in Social Limits to Growth.
Hirsch's most influential book concerned the inherent limits to growth, including both the concept of positional goods and what he called the 'commercialisation effect'.

Luxury tax

luxury goods taxluxuryluxury-goods taxes
This phenomenon, Frank argues, is clearly bad for society, and thus government can improve social welfare by imposing a high luxury tax on certain luxury goods to correct for the externality and mitigate the posited social waste.
Luxury tax is based on the concept of positional goods, which are scarce goods whose value arises as status symbols largely from their ranking against other positional goods.

Expenditure cascades

When a new purchase changes the context within which an existing positional good is evaluated, a positional externality occurs.

Final good

consumer goodsconsumer productsconsumer product
Positional goods are goods valued only by how they are distributed among the population, not by how many of them there are available in total as would be the case with other consumer goods.

Value (economics)

valueeconomic valuemonetary value
The source of greater worth of positional goods is their desirability as a status symbol, which usually results in them greatly exceeding the value of comparable goods.

Gold

Aunative goldgold dust
Various goods have been described as positional in a given capitalist society, such as gold, real estate, diamonds and luxury goods.

Real estate

real-estateluxury real estateland
Various goods have been described as positional in a given capitalist society, such as gold, real estate, diamonds and luxury goods.

Diamond

diamondsdiamond miningindustrial diamond
Various goods have been described as positional in a given capitalist society, such as gold, real estate, diamonds and luxury goods.

Social status

statussuccesssocial ladder
Generally any coveted goods, which may be in abundance, that are considered valuable or desirable in order to display or change one's social status when possesed by relatively few in a given community may be described as positional goods. The term is sometimes extended to include services and non-material possessions that may alter one's social status and that are deemed highly desirable when enjoyed by relatively few in a community, such as college degrees, achievements, awards, etc.

Desire

desireslongingDesire (emotion)
In particular, for these goods the value is at least in part (if not exclusively) a function of its ranking in desirability by others, in comparison to substitutes.

Robert H. Frank

Frank, Robert H.Prisoner's dilemma and cooperationRobert Frank
The term was coined by Fred Hirsch, and the concept has been refined by Robert H. Frank and Ugo Pagano.

Service (business)

serviceservicesservice company
The term is sometimes extended to include services and non-material possessions that may alter one's social status and that are deemed highly desirable when enjoyed by relatively few in a community, such as college degrees, achievements, awards, etc.

Academic degree

degreedegreesuniversity degree
The term is sometimes extended to include services and non-material possessions that may alter one's social status and that are deemed highly desirable when enjoyed by relatively few in a community, such as college degrees, achievements, awards, etc.

Award

awardshonorable mentionhonour
The term is sometimes extended to include services and non-material possessions that may alter one's social status and that are deemed highly desirable when enjoyed by relatively few in a community, such as college degrees, achievements, awards, etc.

Thorstein Veblen

Thorstein Bunde VeblenThorsten VeblenVeblen
Although Thorstein Veblen emphasized the importance of one's relative position in society with reference to the concept of conspicuous leisure and consumption, it was Fred Hirsch who coined the concept of the "positional good", in Social Limits to Growth.

The New York Times

New York TimesNY TimesNYT
The broad theme of Hirsch's book was, he told The New York Times, that material growth can "no longer deliver what has long been promised for it – to make everyone middle-class".

Zero-sum game

zero-sumzero sumNon-zero-sum game
That is, competition for positional goods is a zero-sum game: Attempts to acquire them can only benefit one player at the expense of others.

Public good (economics)

public goodpublic goodssocial goods
That is, in the case of "public ... goods, the consequences of this failure implies that an agent consuming the public good does not get paid for other people's consumption; in the case of a positional ... good, the equivalent failure implies that an agent consuming positive amounts is not charged for the negative consumption of other agent's consumption" (Pagano 1999:71).

Externality

externalitiesnegative externalitynegative externalities
Some economists, such as Robert Frank, argue that positional goods create externalities and that "positional arms races" can result for goods that might boost one's social status relative to others.

Arms race

armaments racearmaments competitionarms build-up
Some economists, such as Robert Frank, argue that positional goods create externalities and that "positional arms races" can result for goods that might boost one's social status relative to others.