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conspicuous consumptionthe CONSUMPTION of goods and services not for the UTILITY derived from their use but for the utility derived from the ostentatious exhibition of such goods and services.
A person may buy and run a Rolls-Royce motor car not just as a vehicle for transportation but because it suggests to the outside world something about the owner. That person may wish to be seen as affluent or as a person of taste. This phenomenon (known as the VEBLEN EFFECT) can be viewed as an alternative to the more usual consumption theories where the quantity of a particular good varies inversely with its price (a downward-sloping DEMAND CURVE). A conspicuous consumption good may well have an UPWARD-SLOPING DEMAND CURVE so that the quantity demanded increases with its price.