Heterogeneity, social esteem and feasibility of collective action

Jean-Philippe Platteau, Erika Seki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


In the presence of individual heterogeneity, a major problem with egalitarian partnership, such as complete income pooling, is that individuals of comparatively high ability are induced to exit the arrangement. This is nevertheless ignoring the possible impact of social esteem considerations based on a comparison of members' performances. In this paper, drawing inspiration from pooling experiences in a Japanese fishery, we show that the exit problem can be surmounted if sensitivity to social esteem is neither too strong nor too weak. If it is too strong, the lower ability agents will exit out of social shame whereas, if it is too weak, the higher ability agents will not consider it worthwhile to transfer income to their partners. When the arrangement is sustainable, the lower ability people strive towards limiting the income gap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-325
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Issue number2
Early online date5 Jun 2006
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • heterogeneity
  • cooperation
  • egalitarian partnership
  • status
  • social esteem
  • status-seeking
  • preferences
  • inequality
  • efficiency
  • behavior


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