Academic Journals Database
Disseminating quality controlled scientific knowledge

Assume the Positional: Comment on Robert Frank

ADD TO MY LIST
 
Author(s): ANDREW KASHDAN | DANIEL B. KLEIN

Journal: Econ journal watch
ISSN 1933-527X

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 412;
Date: 2006;
VIEW PDF   PDF DOWNLOAD PDF   Download PDF Original page

Keywords: Positional goods | positional arms race | leisure | taxation | happiness

ABSTRACT
We examine Robert Frank’s arguments for taxation to mitigate positional externalities. The scarcity that characterizes positional goods is real, but various mechanisms reduce the potential waste, and Frank overstates the case for a governmental solution. The plausibility of Frank’s arguments for extensive market failure requires various assumptions, including the usefulness of happiness comparisons over time, the widespread existence of winner-take-all markets, the failure of voluntary evolution to internalize externalities, and that both “leisure” and governmental activities are significantly less positional than the full-range of activities Frank proposes to tax. Each assumption is shaky. Frank’s policy solutions overlook standard public choice arguments against government expansion and shrug off the Smithian burden of proof incumbent on those proposing coercion.
RPA Switzerland

RPA Switzerland

Robotic process automation

    

Tango Rapperswil
Tango Rapperswil