Institutional economics 6/2020 Frank H. Knight on social values in economic consumption: an archival note by Luca Fiorito , Massimiliano Vatiero

We reproduce an unpublished address on “Social Values in Economic Consumption” which Knight prepared for a SSRC Conference in June 1931. This material sheds new light on Knight in two respects. First, anticipating what is known as the relative income hypothesis, Knight indicated that a general increase in income, not only leaves the individual’s relative position in society unaltered but makes her/his situation worse off due to the peculiar characteristics of the market for “personal services.” Second, this address provides further evidence of how, in spite of some substantial methodological differences, Knight’s research interests converged with those of the institutionalists.

Keywords: Frank H. Knight consumption relative income institutionalism