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Sexual Selection, Conspicuous Consumption and Economic Growth

Author

Listed:
  • Jason Collins

    (Business School, University of Western Australia)

  • Boris Baer

    (Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) ARC CoE in Plant Energy Biology, University of Western Australia)

  • Ernst Juerg Weber

    (Business School, University of Western Australia)

Abstract

The evolution by sexual selection of the male propensity to engage in conspicuous consumption contributed to the emergence of modern rates of economic growth. We develop a model in which males engage in conspicuous consumption to send an honest signal of their quality to females. Males who engage in conspicuous consumption have higher reproductive success than those who do not, as females respond to the costly and honest signal, increasing the prevalence of signalling males in the population over time. As males fund conspicuous consumption through participation in the labour force, the increase in the prevalence of signalling males who engage in conspicuous consumption gives rise to an increase in economic activity that leads to economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Collins & Boris Baer & Ernst Juerg Weber, 2012. "Sexual Selection, Conspicuous Consumption and Economic Growth," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 12-15, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:12-15
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Sex & growth
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-10-10 18:14:39

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    Cited by:

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    2. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2018. "The Macrogenoeconomics of Comparative Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(3), pages 1119-1155, September.
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    5. Jason Collins & Boris Baer & Ernst Juerg Weber, 2016. "Evolutionary Biology in Economics: A Review," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(297), pages 291-312, June.

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