We explore empirically the relevance of positional concerns in France. Unlike previous literature, we use two types of surveys, one addressed to a convenience sample, and the other to a random sample of French households living in the metropolitan area of Montpellier. Surveys are composed of a set of hypothetical questions related to several domains (income, education, vacation time, etc.). We also investigate whether individuals consider themselves more or less positional than others in society. Moreover, a set of variables that could potentially explain why people give positional answers is considered, such as being positional on a domain in which the individual excels. In addition to more conventional findings, we show that (i) the percentage of positional answers for each domain is about the same in the random and convenience samples, (ii) people consider others as more positional than themselves, and (iii) excelling in a given domain is not necessarily a good predictor of positional preferences in this domain.
Do you believe that others are more positional than you? Results from an empirical survey on positional concerns in France
14 January 2014