The course discusses competing models of household behavior and their macroeconomic and ecological implications. In standard neoclassical models, individuals seek to intertemporally maximize utility in terms of consumption and leisure. In more sociologically oriented models (Veblen effects, Relative Income Hypothesis, post-Keynesian models of consumption) a distinction can be made between positional goods, such as various consumption goods, and non-positional goods, such as leisure or saving. Relative income concerns may thus result in positional arms races implying excessive levels of work hours, private consumption, household debt and greenhouse gas emissions. Positional arms races are likely to be exacerbated by a high degree of income inequality. The course discusses the different theoretical models as well as empirical applications using both micro-level household data and macro-level cross-country data. It also discusses the role of public goods (housing, social security, education) in alleviating the positional arms races and environmental degradation stemming from a high degree of income inequality in different national institutional settings (“varieties of capitalism”).