The Persistence of Inferior Cultural-Institutional Conventions
AbstractOur 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 InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.
Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, and Operations
- O17 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
- O43 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
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