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Respect

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  • Alan Manning

Abstract

Becker (1974) introduced to modern economics the idea that others care about what others think about them and derived many useful insights from this assumption. But he did not provide a very complete description of the general equilibrium of an economy in which people both demand respect from and supply respect to others. This paper analyzes the equilibrium price of respect, showing how it depends on the distribution of material endowments and discussing whether we would expect that, as society gets richer, the market for respect becomes more or less important. It explains why a demand for respect is a human universal in terms of Becker's observation that this helps to provide insurance where markets are absent. Although the demand for respect is universal, the activities that command respect have enormous cultural diversity - the paper explains how there can be many Nash equilibria if respect is withheld from those who violate prescribed behaviour. Finally the paper discusses where, in a modern economy, respect is demanded and supplied arguing it is primarily bundled up with other goods and services because of the nature of the costs of supplying it.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0793.

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Date of creation: May 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0793

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

Related research

Keywords: Respect; Status; Pro-Social Preferences;

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References

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  9. Guth, Werner & Huck, Steffen & Ockenfels, Peter, 1996. "Two-Level Ultimatum Bargaining with Incomplete Information: An Experimental Study," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 593-604, May.
  10. Posner, Richard A, 1980. "A Theory of Primitive Society, with Special Reference to Law," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 1-53, April.
  11. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  12. Henrich, Joseph & Boyd, Robert & Bowles, Samuel & Camerer, Colin & Fehr, Ernst & Gintis, Herbert (ed.), 2004. "Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence from Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199262052.
  13. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  14. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
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