First Advisor

John Hall

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Economics and University Honors






Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) -- Political and social views, Meghan (Duchess of Sussex) (1981- ) -- Influence, Leisure class, Celebrities -- Social aspects, Consumer behavior, Clothing trade




Following her engagement and subsequent marriage to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle has emerged as a global figure and fashion icon. Her ability to influence fashion trends has been labelled the "Meghan effect" by the news media. This thesis research applies the theories of Thorstein Veblen, an economist and author of the extremely influential Theory of the Leisure Class (1899). The thesis has the aim of clarifying how Veblen’s thinking can be applied to Markle or comparable high-profile women. What this inquiry ultimately finds is that Veblen was indeed correct in his assumption that high-profile, wealthy people such as Markle can influence consumer behavior. However, Veblen falls short is in his understanding of the importance of fashion: in that he lacks in understanding the function of fashion beyond aesthetic and pecuniary considerations. By using Markle as a prototype of the modern-day celebrity, this thesis aims to add to Veblen's theoretical legacy and update it for the 21st century.


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