How Can Positional Concerns Prevent the Adoption of Socially Desirable Innovations?
We study the role of positional concerns in explaining the (non-) diffusion of profitable and environmentally friendly innovations in situations where there is no conventional prisoner dilemma. Based on anecdotal evidence from farming activities, we introduce the concept of negative positional goods, that is, goods that destroy status in a given reference group, and show how interactions between status concerns and profitability can lead to unexpected outcomes. Several policy implications are drawn.
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