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Transplants and Implants: The Economics of Self-Improvement

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  • Burdett, Ken
  • Coles, Melvyn G

Abstract

This article examines equilibrium self-improvement and marriage proposal strategies in a two-sided search model with nontransferable utility. Singles are vertically differentiated--some make better marriage partners than others. A complete characterization of equilibrium is provided. It is shown there are two externalities to self-improvement decisions. Further, these externalities may support multiple Pareto rankable equilibria. By encouraging everybody to self-improve, society can create a situation where everybody is forced to improve to remain "acceptable." But a preferred equilibrium may exist where there is less (costly) self-improvement.

Suggested Citation

  • Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 2001. "Transplants and Implants: The Economics of Self-Improvement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(3), pages 597-616, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:42:y:2001:i:3:p:597-616
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. V. Bhaskar & Ed Hopkins, 2016. "Marriage as a Rat Race: Noisy Premarital Investments with Assortative Matching," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(4), pages 992-1045.
    2. Bidner, Chris, 2010. "Pre-match investment with frictions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 23-34, January.
    3. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2002. "Intergenerational Social Mobility and Assortative Mating in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 465, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Adachi, Hiroyuki, 2003. "A search model of two-sided matching under nontransferable utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 182-198, December.
    5. repec:eee:jetheo:v:172:y:2017:i:c:p:202-219 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Harris, Matthew C. & Cronin, Christopher J., 2017. "The effects of prospective mate quality on investments in healthy body weight among single women," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 164-183.
    7. Wanchuan Lin & Kathryn McEvilly & Juan Pantano, 2016. "Obesity and sex ratios in the U.S," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 269-292, June.
    8. Chesnokova Tatyana & Vaithianathan Rhema, 2010. "The Economics of Female Genital Cutting," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-28, July.
    9. Chris Bidner & Guillaume Roger & Jessica Moses, 2016. "Investing in Skill and Searching for Coworkers: Endogenous Participation in a Matching Market," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 166-202, February.
    10. Richard Rogerson & Robert Shimer & Randall Wright, 2004. "Search-Theoretic Models of the Labor Market-A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Akiko Maruyama, 2016. "One-sided learning about one's own type in a two-sided search model," GRIPS Discussion Papers 15-26, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
    12. Gautier, Pieter A. & Svarer, Michael & Teulings, Coen N., 2010. "Marriage and the city: Search frictions and sorting of singles," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 206-218, March.
    13. Conley, John P. & Neilson, William, 2009. "Endogenous games and equilibrium adoption of social norms and ethical constraints," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 761-774, July.

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