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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2111740
 
 

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Sexual Selection, Conspicuous Consumption and Economic Growth


Jason Collins


University of Western Australia - UWA Business School

Boris Baer


University of Western Australia - Plant Energy Biology

Ernst Juerg Weber


University of Western Australia - UWA Business School

March 1, 2013


Abstract:     
We propose that 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. Females respond to the costly and honest signal, leading males who engage in conspicuous consumption to have higher reproductive success than those who do not, increasing the prevalence of signalling males in the population. As males fund conspicuous consumption through participation in the labour force, an increase in the prevalence of signalling males gives rise to an increase in economic activity that leads to economic growth.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 60

Keywords: conspicuous consumption, sexual selection, human evolution, economic growth

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Date posted: July 18, 2012 ; Last revised: March 2, 2013

Suggested Citation

Collins, Jason and Baer, Boris and Weber, Ernst Juerg, Sexual Selection, Conspicuous Consumption and Economic Growth (March 1, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2111740 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2111740

Contact Information

Jason Collins (Contact Author)
University of Western Australia - UWA Business School ( email )
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia
Boris Baer
University of Western Australia - Plant Energy Biology ( email )
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia
Ernst Juerg Weber
University of Western Australia - UWA Business School ( email )
Crawley, WA 6009
Australia
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