Why men collect things? A case study of fossilised dinosaur eggs
Collecting entails substantial costs in terms of effort, money, time and space needed to find, obtain and store desirable items. Still, the non-utilitarian nature of collectibles suggests that a simple economic justification of this behaviour is unlikely. Moreover, the apparent sex difference, with collectors being almost exclusively men, indicates a possible reproductive motive. However, presently available theories have failed to identify these motives and predict its patterns leaving collecting behaviour unexplained. This paper employs recent developments in the fields of evolutionary psychology and theoretical biology in order to construct a plausible theory which accounts for collecting behaviour. In particular, it is argued that collecting has evolved to facilitate reliable communication between males with respect to their unobserved resource acquisition capacity. Based on this theoretical framework three hypotheses are derived: the desirability of a collectible item is positively related to its rarity, aesthetic pleasingness, and size. Evidence based on eBay auction sales of fossilised dinosaur eggs provides support for all three hypotheses.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mcinish, Thomas H. & Srivastava, Rajendra K., 1982. "The determinants of investment in collectibles: A probit analysis," Journal of Behavioral Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 123-134.
- Belk, Russell W, 1988. " Possessions and the Extended Self," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 139-168, September.
- Belk, Russell W., 1995. "Collecting as luxury consumption: Effects on individuals and households," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 477-490, September.
- Benjamin J. Burton & Joyce P. Jacobsen, 1999. "Measuring Returns on Investments in Collectibles," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 193-212, Fall.
- Anderson, Robert C, 1974. "Paintings as an Investment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(1), pages 13-26, March.
- Carey, Catherine, 2008. "Modeling collecting behavior: The role of set completion," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 336-347, June.
- Koford, Kenneth & Tschoegl, Adrian E., 1998. "The market value of rarity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 445-457, March.
- Pesando, James E, 1993. "Art as an Investment: The Market for Modern Prints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1075-1089, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:3:p:410-417. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.