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On the Feasibility of Power and Status Ranking in Traditional Setups

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  • Petros Sekeris

    ()
    (CRED - Center of Research in the Economics of Development - Facultés Universitaire Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur - Facultés Universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix)

  • Jean-Philippe Platteau

    (CRED - Center of Research in the Economics of Development - Facultés Universitaire Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur - Facultés Universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix)

Abstract

This paper aims at a better understanding of the conditions under which unequal rank or power positions may get permanently established through asymmetric gift exchange when a gift brings pride to the donor and shame to the recipient. Such a framework matches numerous observations reported in the sociological and anthropological literature dealing with patronage relations in traditional setups. A central result derived from our model is that an asymmetric gift exchange equilibrium can occur only if the importance attached to social shame by a recipient is smaller than that attached to social esteem by a donor. Moreover, if this (necessary) condition is fulfilled, an asymmetric gift exchange will take place only if the recipient's productivity is neither too high nor too low. Finally, the possibility of a parasitic response of the gift recipient is more likely to be observed when the donee's sensitivity to social shame is low, or when his productivity is high.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00122421.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2010
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Publication status: Published, Journal of Comparative Economics, 2010, 38, 3, 267-282
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00122421

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Keywords: Social esteem; status; power; patronage; gift exchange;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. De Weerdt, Joachim & Hirvonen, Kalle, 2013. "Risk sharing and internal migration," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6429, The World Bank.
  2. Mitrut, Andreea & Nordblom, Katarina, 2010. "Social norms and gift behavior: Theory and evidence from Romania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 998-1015, November.
  3. Brousseau, Eric & Garrouste, Pierre & Raynaud, Emmanuel, 2011. "Institutional changes: Alternative theories and consequences for institutional design," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 3-19.
  4. Mitrut, Andreea & Nordblom, Katarina, 2007. "Motives for Private Gift Transfers: Theory and Evidence from Romania," Working Papers in Economics 262, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 30 Apr 2008.
  5. Petros G. Sekeris, 2010. "Endogenous Elites: Power Structure and Patron-Client Relationships," Working Papers 1008, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  6. Petros G. Sekeris, 2008. "Preference Falsification and Patronage," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 08-18, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.

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