26 Feb '14, 7pm

How a Louis Vuitton bag can explain the higher education bubble

f you happen to have $31,500 lying around, you could buy a Louis Vuitton PM Showgirl handbag . Or you could spend almost exactly the same sum to pay for one year's worth of tuition (not including room and board) at an average American four-year private college . The handbag and the college degree have more in common than you might think. In America, the markets for luxury handbags and higher education both produce what are called "Veblen goods." More than a century ago, the sociologist Thorstein Veblen coined the term "conspicuous consumption" to describe the practice of buying luxury goods in order to display social status. In its purest form, conspicuous consumption involves purchasing expensive goods precisely because they are expensive, which means that the true conspicuous consumer will have what economists call an inverted demand curve. Normally, when the price of a ...

Full article: http://theweek.com//article/index/256872/how-a-louis-vuit...

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How a Louis Vuitton bag can explain the higher ...

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