Category Archives: status

Is tech outcompeting other forms of signaling, such as clothing expenditures?

It is amazing to think about how much of the reason we want money and wealth isn’t what it can  for us.  It’s what we hope it can do for our status.

The car you drive, and house you live in once you are past a certain level doesn’t make you much more comfortable, but  it may affect how you think others think about you. 

That’s often what motivates striving – status and affecting what others think of you.  If you care less you are much more free.

The article below relates to how spending is crucial  for teens, who may be the most status conscious of all.

For teenage boys, maybe:

Another factor chipping away at teenage retailers may be the shifting priorities among young people. Where clothing was once the key to signaling a teenager’s identity, other items may have become more important and now compete for their dollars.

“Probably the most important thing a teenage boy has is his smartphone,” said Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. “Second, is probably his sneakers. Third, maybe, we get to his jeans.”

What may trump all of those, Mr. Jaffe said, are gaming systems, especially over the last few months, because Xbox and PlayStation both released new game consoles in 2013. That may have taken a bite out of what teenagers had to spend on clothes.

The Elizabeth A. Harris article, which focuses on declining teen expenditures on retail clothing, is interesting throughout.

Is tech outcompeting other forms of signaling, such as clothing expenditures?
Tyler Cowen
Sun, 02 Feb 2014 17:25:22 GMT