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Tastes, Castes, and Culture: The influence of society on preferences


Fehr, Ernst; Hoff, Karla (2011). Tastes, Castes, and Culture: The influence of society on preferences. Working paper series / Department of Economics No. 26, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Economists have traditionally treated preferences as exogenously given. Preferences are assumed to be influenced by neither beliefs nor the constraints people face. As a consequence, changes in behaviour are explained exclusively in terms of changes in the set of feasible alternatives. Here we argue that the opposition to explaining behavioural changes in terms of preference changes is illfounded, that the psychological properties of preferences render them susceptible to direct social influences, and that the impact of “society” on preferences is likely to have important economic and social consequences.

Abstract

Economists have traditionally treated preferences as exogenously given. Preferences are assumed to be influenced by neither beliefs nor the constraints people face. As a consequence, changes in behaviour are explained exclusively in terms of changes in the set of feasible alternatives. Here we argue that the opposition to explaining behavioural changes in terms of preference changes is illfounded, that the psychological properties of preferences render them susceptible to direct social influences, and that the impact of “society” on preferences is likely to have important economic and social consequences.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:A12, A13, D01, K0
Language:English
Date:August 2011
Deposited On:25 Nov 2011 10:13
Last Modified:12 Aug 2017 12:32
Series Name:Working paper series / Department of Economics
ISSN:1664-7041
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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