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The Persistence of Inferior Cultural-Institutional Conventions

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  • Marianna Belloc
  • Samuel Bowles
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    Abstract

    Our theory of cultural-institutional persistence and innovation is based on uncoordinated updating of individual social norms and contracts, so that both culture and institutions co-evolve. We explain why Pareto-dominated cultural-institutional configurations may persist over long periods and how transitions nonetheless occur. In our model the exercise of elite power plays no role in either persistence or innovation, and transitions occur endogenously. This is unlike models in which elites impose inferior institutions or cultures as a self-interested distributional strategy. We show that persistence will be greater the more inferior is the Pareto-dominated configuration and the more rational and individualistic is the population.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 3 (May)
    Pages: 93-98

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:93-98

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.93
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    1. Iyengar, G. & Kets, W. & Sethi, R. & Bowles, S., 2008. "Inequality and Network Structure," Discussion Paper 2008-76, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    2. Black, Sandra E. & Devereux, Paul J. & Salvanes, Kjell G., 2009. "Like father, like son? A note on the intergenerational transmission of IQ scores," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 138-140, October.
    3. Krusell, P. & Rios-Rull, J.V., 1993. "Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth," Papers 547, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
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    Cited by:
    1. Hwang, Sung-Ha & Newton, Jonathan, 2014. "A classification of bargaining solutions by evolutionary origin," Working Papers 2014-02, University of Sydney, School of Economics, revised Apr 2014.

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