IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/uwa/wpaper/12-15.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.business.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/2157988/12-15-Sexual-Selection,-Conspicuous-Consumption-and-Economic-Growth.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael T. Hannan & L·szlÛ PÛlos & Glenn R. Carroll, 2004. "The evolution of inertia," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 213-242, February.
    2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
    3. Thorstein Veblen, 1899. "Mr. Cummings's Strictures on "The Theory of the Leisure Class"," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8, pages 106-106.
    4. Arthur J. Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "The Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1925-1953, December.
    5. Nick Netzer, 2009. "Evolution of Time Preferences and Attitudes toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 937-955, June.
    6. Arthur J. Robson & Balazs Szentes, 2008. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1178-1188, June.
    7. Rubin, Paul H & Paul, Chris W, II, 1979. "An Evolutionary Model of Taste for Risk," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(4), pages 585-596, October.
    8. Galor, Oded & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2012. "Evolution and the growth process: Natural selection of entrepreneurial traits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 759-780.
    9. Omer Moav and & Zvika Neeman, 2012. "Saving Rates and Poverty: The Role of Conspicuous Consumption and Human Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 933-956, September.
    10. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    11. De Fraja, Gianni, 2009. "The origin of utility: Sexual selection and conspicuous consumption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 51-69, October.
    12. Becker, Gary S, 1976. "Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 817-826, September.
    13. Rogers, Alan R, 1994. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 460-481, June.
    14. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
    15. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters,in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World Princeton University Press.
    16. Larry Samuelson & Arthur J. Robson, 2007. "The Evolution of Intertemporal Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 496-500, May.
    17. Veblen, Thorstein, 1899. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1899, December.
    18. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
    19. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
    20. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1990. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 529-544, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    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

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2016. "The Macrogenoeconomics of Comparative Development," Department of Economics Working Papers 2016-02, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Jan 2017.
    2. Richters, Oliver & Siemoneit, Andreas, 2017. "How imperative are the Joneses? Economic growth between desire and social coercion," VÖÖ Discussion Papers 4/2017, Vereinigung für Ökologische Ökonomie e.V. (VÖÖ).

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:12-15. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Verity Chia). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deuwaau.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.