Expenditure Visibility and Consumer Behavior: New Evidence

Research output: Working paper/preprintWorking paper


Expenditure visibility—the extent to which a household’s spending on a consumption category is noticeable to others—is measured in three new surveys, with ~3,000 telephone and online respondents. Visibility shows little change across time (ten years) and survey methods. Four different notions, or dimensions, of visibility are measured: the noticeability of above-average spending on a category; that of below-average spending; and the positivity/negativity of impressions made by above- and below-average spending. Jointly, these visibility measures explain up to three quarters or more of the observed variation in total-expenditure elasticities across consumption categories in U.S. data. Possible theoretical explanations are explored.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass
PublisherNational Bureau of Economic Research
Number of pages61
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameNBER working paper series
PublisherNational Bureau of Economic Research
Volumeno. w25161

Bibliographical note

October 2018.


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