The economics of cultural transmission and the dynamics of preferences

Verdier, Thierry and Bisin, Alberto (2001) The economics of cultural transmission and the dynamics of preferences. Journal of Economic Theory, 97, (2), 298-319. (doi:10.1006/jeth.2000.2678).


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This paper studies the population dynamics of preference traits in a model of intergenerational cultural transmission. Parents socialize and transmit their preferences to their offspring, motivated by a form of paternalistic altruism ("imperfect empathy"). In such a setting we study the long run stationary state pattern of preferences in the population, according to various socialization mechanisms and institutions, and identify sufficient conditions for the global stability of an heterogenous stationary distribution of the preference traits. We show that cultural transmission mechanisms have very different implications than evolutionary selection mechanisms with respect to the dynamics of the distribution of the traits in the population, and we study mechanisms which interact evolutionary selection and cultural transmission.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1006/jeth.2000.2678
ISSNs: 0022-0531 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Economics
ePrint ID: 33480
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 16 May 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:59

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