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Peers and Culture

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  • Maria Saez-Marti
  • Anna Sjögren

Abstract

We analyze the evolution of culture when parents socialize children to the cultural variants that maximize child lifetime utility. Parents invest in cultural transmission taking into account that children are also influenced by peers. We model the influence of peers by assuming that children observe different cultural variants in their peer group, assign merit to them and adopt one variant, following a probabilistic adoption rule. We show that cultural diversity is sustainable even if all parents strive to transmit the same variant. We also show that a parental demand for cultural pluralism does not guarantee cultural diversity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 349.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:349

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Keywords: Cultural transmission; cultural diversity; peer groups; oblique transmission.;

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  1. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  2. Esther Hauk & Maria Sáez, 1999. "On the cultural transmission of corruption," Economics Working Papers 392, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1991. "A Note on Restaurant Pricing and Other Examples of Social Influences on Price," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1109-16, October.
  5. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  6. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
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