DEFINITION of 'Positional Goods'

Goods which act as a status symbols, signaling their owners' high relative standing within society. Positional goods often exhibit superior quality and features. However, these goods derive most of their value from the level of reliability with which they serve to distinguish their owners as members of the favored group.

BREAKING DOWN 'Positional Goods'

To accomplish the goal of signaling high standing, positional goods must be available only to those within a desired group. For example, where the desired group is the wealthy, exclusivity is easily accomplished through setting a high price. Economist Thorstein Veblen is famous for his study of how economic activity is influenced by social contexts. Veblen introduced the term "conspicuous consumption" to describe his observations of how goods can be used to indicate social position.

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