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"Why do rich households spend more?"

Identify reasons why rich households spend more than the average household.


CIE May/June 2023



Title: Understanding Why Rich Households Spend More


In economics, the spending patterns of households are influenced by various factors such as income, wealth, preferences, and societal norms. When it comes to rich households, their consumption behavior often differs significantly from that of the average household. This essay aims to delve into the reasons why rich households tend to spend more than the average household, considering factors such as higher incomes, borrowing opportunities, confidence levels, savings, cost of luxury goods, status maintenance, and family size preferences.

Higher Incomes:

Rich households, by definition, have significantly higher income levels compared to the average household. This higher level of disposable income enables them to afford a more luxurious lifestyle, including expensive goods and services. They have the financial capacity to purchase high-end products, travel extensively, dine at upscale restaurants, and invest in premium experiences that contribute to their overall higher spending.

Ease of Borrowing:

Due to their higher income and wealth, rich households often find it easier to access credit and loans. This easier access to borrowing allows them to finance large purchases or investments without compromising their savings or lifestyle. They can leverage credit facilities to further enhance their consumption choices, leading to increased spending levels compared to households with limited access to credit.

Confidence and Savings:

Rich households typically exhibit higher levels of confidence in their financial stability and future earning potential. This confidence translates into a willingness to spend more on discretionary items, such as luxury goods and services, while still maintaining substantial savings and investment portfolios. Their confidence in their economic status allows them to enjoy their wealth through spending without significant reservations.

Cost of Luxury Goods and Services:

The high cost associated with luxury goods and services is another factor contributing to the increased spending of rich households. These households prioritize quality, exclusivity, and prestige in their consumption choices, leading them to purchase expensive items that showcase their affluence. The desire to own and experience luxury drives their spending behavior and sets them apart from average households with more limited budgets.

Status Maintenance:

For many rich households, spending serves as a means of maintaining and displaying their social status and success. Luxury purchases and extravagant lifestyle choices signal wealth and influence within social circles, contributing to a sense of prestige and recognition. This status-conscious consumption behavior motivates them to spend more on items that reflect their standing in society, thereby influencing their overall spending patterns.

Family Size Preferences:

Some affluent households opt to have larger families, leading to higher spending requirements to support their lifestyle and provide for their dependents. The decision to have more children can result in increased spending on education, healthcare, housing, and other expenses, all of which contribute to the overall higher expenditure of rich households compared to average households with smaller family sizes.


In conclusion, the spending behavior of rich households is shaped by a combination of factors, including higher incomes, borrowing opportunities, confidence levels, savings, cost considerations, status maintenance, and family size preferences. Understanding these reasons helps to explain why rich households tend to spend more than the average household, as their consumption choices are influenced by a mix of financial capacity, lifestyle preferences, and societal expectations. By dissecting the underlying drivers of affluent spending patterns, economists can gain valuable insights into the dynamics of household consumption and its broader implications for the economy.






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