Who sees what? Demographics and the visibility of consumer expenditures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growing body of work on social phenomena (like status, peer effects, social comparisons and fashion) rests on assumptions regarding the social observability of consumption activities. The present paper provides new empirical evidence for assessing such assumptions. We analyze data from a unique visibility survey, designed to quantify the relative " cultural" visibility of different consumer expenditures among US households. We investigate the relationship between respondents' demographics and the expenditures they perceive as visible. We discuss implications for existing and future work.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)801-818
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Conspicuous consumption
  • Expenditure observability
  • Expenditure visibility
  • Survey data

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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