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Sexual Selection, Conspicuous Consumption and Economic Growth

  • 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)

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.

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Paper provided by The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion / Working Papers with number 12-15.

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Length: 71 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:12-15
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