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IPhone Is Most Common 'Status Symbol' of Wealth

10 July 2018

That's one of the takeaways from a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper from University of Chicago economists Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica.

"Knowing whether someone owns an iPad in 2016 allows us to guess correctly whether the person is in the top or bottom income quartile 69 percent of the time", wrote the researchers. An iPhone? According to a report written by the University of Chicago and the National Bureau of Economic Research, in the US owning an iPhone is an indicator that you are in a higher tax bracket than others.

WTF?! If for some reason you want people to think you're rich, you don't have to buy a Rolex or a Porsche, simply get yourself an iPhone.

The researchers used data from Mediamark Research Intelligence, which provided a sample size of 6,394.

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Meanwhile, in terms of products, the best indicator of wealth in 2016 was traveling in the continental United States at 70.9 percent and owning a passport at 70.3 percent.

The study included the top predictors for other years.

Aside from products, the economists, whose findings were earlier reported on by Business Insider, found that if traveling in the US, owning a passport, and having Bluetooth in your vehicle were also high on the list of high-income indicators. In 1992, some of the top brands that were associated with wealth in the USA, in no particular order, were Grey Poupon Dijon mustard, Kodak cameras, Kikkoman soy sauce, and Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

The smartphone, in the modern world, is as much a necessity now as condiments in the early 1990s were, the data suggests. In 2004, Land O'Lakes butter and Kikkoman soy sauce were indicators of high-income households.

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The paper also reveals iPhone owners are likely to give the impression of being educated.

However, the iPhone is an even stronger indicator.

The data is also a reminder of how much things have changed technologically over the years. In 1992, it was owning an automatic dishwasher at 71.4 percent and using dishwater detergent at 70.2 percent.

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IPhone Is Most Common 'Status Symbol' of Wealth