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On positional consumption and technological innovation: an agent-based model

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  • João Bernardino

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  • Tanya Araújo

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Abstract

Positional behaviour is arguably a source of social externalities. Remedies for this market failure are defended by some authors and rejected by others. One of the issues discussed is the role that the competition for positional goods may have in generating technological innovation. This article aims to contribute to the understanding of the dynamics of this process through the use of an agent-based model. Simulations show a plausible dynamics of the process of technological innovation as generated by consumption of positional nature. An interpretation of the results in the scope of the policy discussion in question is provided. The influence of key factors such as income inequality, the materialization of the Hirsch conjecture, and characteristics of the network of relative preferences, is analised. We also frame the potential interest of positional consumption and this model in particular in the context of the ongoing discussion among evolutionary economists on the behaviour of demand. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Suggested Citation

  • João Bernardino & Tanya Araújo, 2013. "On positional consumption and technological innovation: an agent-based model," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(5), pages 1047-1071, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:23:y:2013:i:5:p:1047-1071
    DOI: 10.1007/s00191-013-0317-5
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00191-013-0317-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert H. Frank, 2005. "Positional Externalities Cause Large and Preventable Welfare Losses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 137-141, May.
    2. Richard Nelson & Davide Consoli, 2010. "An evolutionary theory of household consumption behavior," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(5), pages 665-687, October.
    3. Andreas Reinstaller & Bulat Sanditov, 2005. "Social structure and consumption: on the diffusion of consumer good innovation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 505-531, November.
    4. Robert H. Frank, 2006. "Taking Libertarian Concerns Seriously: Reply to Kashdan and Klein," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(3), pages 435-451, September.
    5. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-750, December.
    6. J.S. Metcalfe, 2001. "special issue: Consumption, preferences, and the evolutionary agenda," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 37-58.
    7. Zweimuller, Josef, 2000. "Schumpeterian Entrepreneurs Meet Engel's Law: The Impact of Inequality on Innovation-Driven Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 185-206, June.
    8. Witt, Ulrich, 2010. "Symbolic consumption and the social construction of product characteristics," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 17-25, March.
    9. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-1171, September.
    10. Andrew Kashdan & Daniel B. Klein, 2006. "Assume the Positional: Comment on Robert Frank," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(3), pages 412-434, September.
    11. Dawid, Herbert, 2006. "Agent-based Models of Innovation and Technological Change," Handbook of Computational Economics,in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 25, pages 1235-1272 Elsevier.
    12. Wilhite, Allen, 2006. "Economic Activity on Fixed Networks," Handbook of Computational Economics,in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 1013-1045 Elsevier.
    13. Marco Valente, 2012. "Evolutionary demand: a model for boundedly rational consumers," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(5), pages 1029-1080, November.
    14. Aversi, Roberta, et al, 1999. "Demand Dyanmics with Socially Evolving Preferences," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 353-408, June.
    15. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1987. "Relative-Income Effects and the Appropriate Level of Public Expenditure," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 293-300, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Reto Foellmi & Josef Zweimüller, 2017. "Is inequality harmful for innovation and growth? Price versus market size effects," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 359-378, April.
    2. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:3:p:713-730 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Positional consumption; Relative preferences; Innovation; Agent-based modelling; Demand behaviour; Evolutionary economics; Economic inequality; Hirsch conjecture; Social network effects; D01; D11; O31; C63;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques

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