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Resource-Grabbing By Status-Conscious Agents

  • Ngo Van Long

    ()

  • Shengzu Wang

    ()

We introduce a dynamic model of resource-grabbing by status-conscious agents, i.e., agents value not only their absolute consumption levels, but also the relative status within their reference group. We explore the effect of the concern for relative consumption on the growth rate and the welfare of an economy where agents appropriate from a common property resource. Our model shows that the greater is agents' concern about their relative status, the more aggressively they tend to behave. Consequently, the social welfare is lower because the growth rate of the public asset is reduced doe to higher extraction rate. We also consider the effect of increased heterogeneity, and show that social welfare decreases as the distribution of status-consciousness among agents widens.

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Paper provided by McGill University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2008-08.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcl:mclwop:2008-08
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  1. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
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  9. Tornell, Aaron & Velasco, Andes, 1992. "The Tragedy of the Commons and Economic Growth: Why Does Capital Flow from Poor to Rich Countries?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1208-31, December.
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  11. Pollak, Robert A, 1976. "Interdependent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 309-20, June.
  12. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1997. "Wealth Inequality and Efficiency in the Commons: Part I: The Unregulated Case," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 451-82, October.
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  19. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521637329 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Curtis Eaton & Mukesh Eswaran, 2003. "The evolution of preferences and competition: a rationalization of Veblen's theory of invidious comparisons," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 832-859, November.
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  24. Fisher, Walter H. & Hof, Franz X., 2000. "Relative Consumption and Endogenous Labour Supply in the Ramsey Model: Do Status-Conscious People Work Too Much?," Economics Series 85, Institute for Advanced Studies.
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