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Sociability and the Market

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  • Jonathan Wight

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Abstract

This paper addresses two classroom activities for exploring sociability and the role it plays in market and non-market allocations. Adam Smith’s moral sentiments theory provides a conceptual framework for understanding such behavior. In the Desert Island activity students have conversations about competing allocation methods (e.g., rationing, lottery, competition, brute force) that provide a backdrop for learning about market mechanisms and behavioral economics. Beginning students consistently pick egalitarian distributions that signal the implicit willingness to share for reasons that might be instinctual, reputational or other. Fairness in allocations mimics that found in the playing of the Ultimatum Game. The results suggest that economic instructors can successfully bring into the classroom concepts of sociability and the roles it serves in human institutions when introducing a new and different institution—the market.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12143-009-9034-0
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Forum for Social Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 97-110

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Handle: RePEc:spr:fosoec:v:38:y:2009:i:2:p:97-110

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/12143

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Related research

Keywords: Adam Smith; Moral sentiments; Social behavior; Fairness; Pedagogy;

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  1. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
  2. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
  3. Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "From Homo Economicus to Homo Sapiens," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 133-141, Winter.
  4. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S285-300, October.
  5. Hausman, Daniel M & McPherson, Michael S, 1993. "Taking Ethics Seriously: Economics and Contemporary Moral Philosophy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 671-731, June.
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