The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Peter J. Hammond
Reference work entry


Envy is a deadly sin, but then so is avarice or greed, and greed seems not to trouble economists. Envy does, however, perhaps because it is an externality. Different economists have also used the term in different senses. Veblen (1899) avoids the word ‘envy’, but one feels that some of the pleasure of conspicuous consumption may come from the malicious belief that it induces envy in others. Brennan (1973) uses the term ‘malice’ to indicate negative altruism – a distaste for the income of others – and ‘envy’ to indicate that the marginal disutility of another’s income increases as their income increases. For other concepts of envy, see Nozick (1974) and Chaudhuri (1985).

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Hammond
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