Sexual Selection, Conspicuous Consumption and Economic Growth

60 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2012 Last revised: 2 Mar 2013

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 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.

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

Suggested Citation

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

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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