Way Beyond Keeping Up with the Joneses

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5525283

Behind the Ever-Expanding American Dream House



July 4, 2006
Robert Frank, a professor of management and economics at Cornell University, says the growth of big houses is not really about greed. It’s all about context. If you live in a village in Africa, even a modest American house seems huge. But in the United States , there are now millions of people with lots of money, and their wealth shifts the frame of reference for those just below them.
So let’s say you want to find the best school district for your child, but the houses there are huge and expensive. You might take fewer vacations, endure a much longer commute, save less. But you don’t forgo the bigger house, because it means a better neighborhood and a better education.

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A 614 SF House: Impressive!
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A closer look

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