Essays on the Economics of Signaling Goodness

Essays on the Economics of Signaling Goodness

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This dissertation investigates the effect of reputation as a determinant of altruistic behavior among non-kin individuals as it is manifested by political positions, voting, and in simulated experiments. The Nelson-Greene model suggests that giving to charity signals a higher degree of trustworthiness in reciprocal relationships and so it is rational for utility maximizing individuals to give to charity. First, survey data from the U.K. and U.S. is found to be consistent with both the theory's implication that individuals are more likely to signal if they have a lower cost or larger number of potential partners, and also consistent with U.S. results previously published. Second, an agent-based simulation shows that the evolution of an efficient signal is possible with competing strategies and multi-generations. The presence of false signaling individuals does not eliminate the benefits to trustworthy individuals. Finally, voter turnout in the U.K. is found to be consistent with the signal model of trustworthiness. Results also suggest that an instrumental model of voting in the U.K. has better predictive power than the alternative random process suggested by others.Excluding abortion, for each public policy question the individual was asked aquot;The government should spend more money on X?aquot; and could answer with strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree. The dependent variable isanbsp;...

Title:Essays on the Economics of Signaling Goodness
Author:Sean M. Christy
Publisher:ProQuest - 2007


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