Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Some Anomalies Arising from Bandwagons that Impart Upward Sloping Segments to Market Demand

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Abstract

In Gary Becker’s (1991) theory of bandwagon effects, a portion of market demand is positively sloped. In this, he ignores Harvey Leibenstein’s (1950) hypothesis that market demands for bandwagon goods are everywhere negatively sloped (stemming from scarcity imposed constraints). A substantial literature now invokes Becker’s bandwagon, also ignoring Leibenstein. Two anomalies attend Becker’s bandwagon demand when it slopes upward: 1) straightforward parameterizations are inconsistent with the economic requirement that quantities demanded be non-negative; 2) regardless of parameterization, the comparative statics of Becker’s demand carry unworldly implications.