Put away that Rolex, because there’s a new conspicuous consumption totem on the block.
A June paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research looking at, in part, common predictors of wealth, found that owning an iPhone is a strong sign that someone is in fact straight ballin’. Or, at least “high-income.”
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“We measure cultural distance between two groups as the ability to infer an individual’s group based on his or her (i) media consumption, (ii) consumer behavior, (iii) time use, or (iv) social attitudes,” notes the study abstract.
The paper, by Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica, has some interesting details. For example, while in 1992 using Grey Poupon Dijon was 62.2% indicative of being high income, by 2016 that fanciest of mustards had been replaced by the iPhone. Read more…