Chapter

A Simple Equilibrium in Performance

Geoffrey Brennan and Philip Pettit

in The Economy of Esteem

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780199246489
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601460 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199246483.003.0006
A Simple Equilibrium in Performance

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How A scores in the esteem stakes depends on the assessment of A’s performance relative to standards. The higher the standards the greater the incentive to perform well, other things equal. But standards themselves reflect prevailing practice. So there is a feedback loop between performance and standards in any estimable domain. The aim of this chapter is to explore this feedback loop by constructing a simple equilibrium in the performance domain. Even if esteem is not ‘positional’ in the sense that it is awarded on the basis of one’s ranking, esteem exhibits zero-sum properties in the simplest cases. This fact raises questions about the normative properties of esteem-seeking behaviour.

Keywords: comparative Statics; equilibrium; performance; standards; zero-sum

Chapter.  8712 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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