The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Applications to Communities, Organizations and Markets

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Advanced Grant (AdG), SH1, ERC-2012-ADG

Project acronym: TECTACOM

Project: The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Applications to Communities, Organizations and Markets

Researcher (PI): Thierry Verdier

Host Institution (HI): Ecole d’Economie de Paris, France

Start date: 2013-05-01, End date: 2018-04-30

Summary: «A central pillar of economic analysis is the assumption of exogenous preferences. This position however is specific to the discipline: other social sciences have always recognised that individuals may have endogenous preferences and values, influenced by the society in which they live. Recently however, there has been mounting evidence in the economic literature about the importance of cultural dimensions and their evolution to explain a variety of socio-economic phenomena. Taking that perspective seriously, the purpose of this project is to develop an economic approach of preferences evolution and cultural transmission interacting with the functioning of communities, organizations and markets. The key building block of the analysis is an economic framework of cultural transmission and socialization that I have been developing in the last decade (Bisin-Verdier 2000, 2001).This framework considers dynamic population models where preference transmission is partly the result of purposeful actions undertaken by socializing agents, and external influences embedded into specific socio-economic contexts. The project has two parts. First we propose to develop a set of new dimensions that relate to: a) who is transmitting and the motivations for transmission (multiple socializing agents, nested cultural transmission games), b) the content of what is transmitted (beliefs transmission), and c) the context of transmission (geography, space and social networks) The second part of the project presents applications of these new dimensions to two themes where a cultural transmission perspective appears to be relevant: a) The resilience of socially dysfunctional behaviours in local communities, b) the design and diffusion of corporate culture in firms.»

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