Surprising Culinary Status Symbols

Including celery and pineapples, past and present culinary status symbols are examples of foods preferred by an elite group.

Throwback Thursday: Looking Back at the Tiffany Brand

Shifting from Audrey Hepburn elegance to Lady Gaga, the Tiffany brand has a new face to market its luxury image and its Veblen goods.

The Surprising Consequences of Taxing Bagels and Windows

By changing our homes and our cream cheese purchases, taxes on bagels and windows can have unintended consequences when they distort our behavior.

The First Aspirational Shopper

As the early 20th century interior decorator who rejected Victorian design, Elsie de Wolfe also created the first group of aspirational shoppers.

The Signals Your Name Sends

Your name can indicate which presidential hopeful you support. Bias to Hillary Clinton:   Bias to Bernie Sanders:   Bias to Donald Trump   Rather than focusing on donors, if we just look at Democrats and Republicans, then Miriam, Sarah, Emily,…

How Your Lawn is About More Than Grass

Nothing but grass, lawns began as conspicuous consumption from the English and French aristocracy and now are a middle class manicured status symbol.

What Golf in China Shows About Economic Development

On a ladder of spending in developing economies, growing affluence first means wheat and meat. Then, climbing somewhat higher, people can afford consumer durables like a washing machine and a car. On a Chinese spending ladder, we could add golf. But it is a…

Prius Purchases and Conspicuous Conservation

Our Wednesday Environment Focus Reporting that Prius was the top selling car in California, Bloomberg said the reason was tough emissions standards. I wonder… In a 2011 paper, economists Alison and Steven Sexton compared voting patterns and Prius ownership in Colorado and Washington…

iPhone 5 Economics

Explaining the probable impact of the new Apple iPhone, one UPS employee recalled the impact of the last new iPad launch.  At its internal hubs, UPS created more work hours for part timers and enjoyed more revenue because of the volume…

What Do Your Shoes Say About You?

During a panel discussion, my students were told by a business woman not to wear sandals or even open-toed shoes for a job interview. But, does a shoe really send that much of message? Focusing on the accuracy of the…