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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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  8. Jeff Dayton-Johnson and Pranab Bardhan., 1996. "Inequality and Conservation on the Local Commons: A Theoretical Exercise," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C96-071, University of California at Berkeley.
  9. Ngo Van Long & Gerhard Sorger, 2004. "Insecure Property Rights and Growth: The Roles of Appropriation Costs, Wealth Effects, and Heterogeneity," CESifo Working Paper Series 1253, CESifo Group Munich.
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  13. Bill Dupor & Wen-Fang Liu, 2003. "Jealousy and Equilibrium Overconsumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 423-428, March.
  14. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Keeping Up with the Joneses: Consumption Externalities, Portfolio Choice, and Asset Prices," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 1-8, February.
  15. 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.
  16. Smith, Adam, 1759. "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1759.
  17. Gerhard Sorger, 2005. "A dynamic common property resource problem with amenity value and extraction costs," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 1(1), pages 3-19.
  18. Torvik, Ragnar, 2002. "Natural resources, rent seeking and welfare," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 455-470, April.
  19. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Wealth Inequality and Efficiency in the Commons, Part II: The Regulated Case," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 1-22, January.
  20. Jack Hirshleifer, 1983. "From weakest-link to best-shot: The voluntary provision of public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 371-386, January.
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  23. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Ngo Van Long, 2008. "Relative Consumption and Resource Extraction," CIRANO Working Papers 2008s-27, CIRANO.
  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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