Sexual Selection, Conspicuous Consumption and Economic Growth

Jason Collins, Boris Baer, Ernst Weber

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper

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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.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUWA Business School
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameEconomics Discussion Papers
No.15
Volume12

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