I find your article itneresting. This can be related with the people that study a MBA. Slogging through an MBA course, might not raise your productivity, but the mere fact that you bothered to do so—and paid thousands for the privilege—tells employers something about you. People of above average ability want to show that they are a cut above the riff-raff, and are willing to pay for it.
In the other hand, let’s think of another signaljing model, but now rather than assuming (as most signalling models do) that there are just two classes of people—above and below average— three categories: high, medium and low ability. “Countersignalling”—pretending to be less bright than they really are—is then one way in which people of high ability can set themselves apart from the merely middling.
Suppose that a mixture of people apply for a job. Interviewers have two sources of information about their quality: exam grades and a personal recommendation. Because these are imperfect signals, middle-ability applicants might be confused with either high-ability or low-ability types. To distinguish themselves from the dross, they boast about their grades. The high-quality people, however, know that their grades and references will distinguish them from those of low ability. By not bothering to mention their grades, they set themselves apart from the middle group as well. The authors back up their theory with classroom experiments.
Countersignalling, can explain why mediocre students are keen to answer a teacher’s easy questions, while the best students are embarrassed even to bother raising their hands, and why minor, insecure managers are obsessed with displays of power. The trouble now is that those of middle rank are sure to grasp the idea.
What do you think?