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Between Utility and Cognition: The Neurobiology of Relative Position

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  • Daniel John Zizzo

Abstract

A positive correlation between relative position and the neurotransmitter serotonin exists in non-human primates, within an optimal range. This paper explores the reasons of this correlation. The main function of serotonin appears cognitive: it determines how optimally agents perceive and behave in game theoretical interactions, and this can explain the correlational finding. Among humans, within the optimal range serotonin works as a form of human capital, capable of improving the work functioning of agents who respond to serotonergic promoter treatment. Limitations of the existing evidence are also discussed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 56.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2000
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:56

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Keywords: serotonin; relative position; categorization; human capital;

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  1. Vickers, John, 1985. "Delegation and the Theory of the Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380a), pages 138-47, Supplemen.
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Cited by:
  1. Joan Costa-i-Font & Frank Cowell, 2013. "Social Identity and Redistributive Preferences: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 4440, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Budría, Santiago & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 6419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Santi Budria & Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell, 2012. "Income Comparisons and Non-cognitive Skills," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 441, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  4. Ederer, Florian & Patacconi, Andrea, 2010. "Interpersonal comparison, status and ambition in organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 348-363, August.
  5. Budría, Santiago, 2012. "Are Relative-Income Effects Constant across the Well-being Distribution?," IZA Discussion Papers 6591, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2009. "How important is rank to individual perception of economic standing? A within-community analysis," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 225-248, September.
  7. Santiago Budria, 2013. "Are Relative-Income Effects Constant Across the Well-Being Distribution?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 1379-1408, August.

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