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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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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19722/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19722.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19722

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Keywords: Respect; Status; Pro-Social Preferences;

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  1. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1652-1678, December.
  2. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 2002. "Evolution of Social Behavior: Individual and Group Selection," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
  3. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
  4. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," CESifo Working Paper Series 336, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1976. "Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 817-26, September.
  10. Richard A. Posner, 1979. "A Theory of Primitive Society with Special Reference to Law," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 7, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  11. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
  12. 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.
  13. 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, Octomber.
  14. Cathy Pharoah & Sarah Tanner, 1997. "Trends in charitable giving," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 18(4), pages 427-444, January.
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