The Economics of Human Relationships
AbstractBehind my reciprocation of a friend's gift may lie both instrumental reasons (I expect further future gifts) and `communicative' reasons (I want to establish or confirm a friendship per se). In a theory of rational individual action, such `communicative' reasons can be incorporated as an argument of an agent's objective function. This chapter starts by reviewing a recent literature that takes this direction and introduces `relational' concerns through the concept of `socially provided goods'. From a `relational' perspective, however, individual intentions are not all that matters: a relation is characterized by the two (or more) persons linked and by the kind of link they have. This perspective, which in our view should complement the more traditional, individualistic one, is particularly suited to embed individual motivations in their social context and to study their co-evolution. In particular, we focus on the conditions under which reciprocity and altruism may survive and even spread over as social norms. Drawing from the literature on the dynamics of social norms, we argue that the combination of individual incentives and the forces of social selection may lead to a contraposition between a society's material success and its well-being, i.e., between its `vitality' and its `satisfaction'. Finally, we consider that the recent literature on the economic analysis of human relationships invites to a new reading of the `classics' of economics and of moral and political philosophy. Both the new and the old literature point at the need to broaden the scope of economic modeling, to lay down the building blocks of a new, up-to-date approach to political economy that is equipped to tackle the challenges posed by advanced industrial societies in their social, cultural and economic selection dimensions.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
This chapter was published in:
This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism with number 1-09.
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Raul Caruso, 2009. "Relational Good at Work! Crime and Sport Participation in Italy. Evidence from Panel Data Regional Analysis over the Period 1997-2003," NCER Working Paper Series 47, National Centre for Econometric Research.
- Julie Nelson, 2010. "Getting past “rational man/emotional woman”: comments on research programs in happiness economics and interpersonal relations," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 233-253, June.
- Angelo Antoci & Marcello Galeotti & Paolo Russu & Zarri, 2005.
"Generalized Trust and Sustainable Coexistence between Socially Responsible Firms and Non Profit Organizations,"
22, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
- Angelo Antoci & Marcello Galeotti & Paolo Russu & Luca Zarri, 2005. "Generalized Trust and Sustainable Coexistence between Socially Responsible Firms and Nonprofit Organizations," Working Papers 22/2005, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
- Mitrut, Andreea & Nordblom, Katarina, 2007. "Motives for Private Gift Transfers: Theory and Evidence from Romania," Working Papers in Economics 262, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 30 Apr 2008.
- P. L. Sacco & M. Viviani, 2006. "La responsabilita' sociale d'Impresa - prospettive teoriche nel dibattito italiano," Working Papers 578, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
- Caruso, Raul, 2011. "Crime and sport participation: Evidence from Italian regions over the period 1997–2003," The Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 455-463.
- Julie A. Nelson, . "09-07 "Getting Past "Rational Man/Emotional Woman": How Far Have Research Programs in Happiness and Interpersonal Relations Progressed?"," GDAE Working Papers 09-07, GDAE, Tufts University.
- Argandoña, Antonio, 2011. "Stakeholder theory and value creation," IESE Research Papers D/922, IESE Business School.
- Raul Caruso, 2009. "Crime and Sport Participation in Itay: Evidence from Panel Data Regional Analysis over the Period 1997-2003.\," Working Papers 0904, International Association of Sports Economists & North American Association of Sports Economists.
- Mitrut, Andreea & Nordblom, Katarina, 2010. "Social norms and gift behavior: Theory and evidence from Romania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 998-1015, November.
- Benedetto Gui & Luca Stanca, 2010. "Happiness and relational goods: well-being and interpersonal relations in the economic sphere," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 57(2), pages 105-118, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wendy Shamier).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.