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Collective Memory, Cultural Transmission, and Investments

Author

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  • Roberta Dessí

Abstract

I study the transmission of collective memory as a mechanism for cultural transmission, in the presence of social externalities associated with individual cultural investment decisions. The younger generation's decisions depend on beliefs about the quality of existing institutions, norms, and values, which are influenced by collective memory. In culturally homogeneous societies it can be optimal to suppress negative memories while emphasizing positive ones. However, the ability to bias collective memory is costly: it may generate cultural overoptimism and overinvestment in some cases, the reverse in other cases. The scope for welfare-enhancing manipulation of collective memory is reduced, moreover, in culturally heterogeneous societies. (JEL D83, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Roberta Dessí, 2008. "Collective Memory, Cultural Transmission, and Investments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 534-560, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:1:p:534-60
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.1.534
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sidartha Gordon & Alessandro Riboni, 2015. "Doubts and Dogmatism in Conflict Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(589), pages 1790-1817, December.
    2. Roland Bénabou, 2013. "Groupthink: Collective Delusions in Organizations and Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 429-462.
    3. Alessandro Belmonte & Michael Rochlitz, 2018. "The Political Economy of Collective Memories: Evidence from Russian Politics," HSE Working papers WP BRP 59/PS/2018, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    4. Carlin, Bruce Ian & Chowdhry, Bhagwan & Garmaise, Mark J., 2012. "Investment in organization capital," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 268-286.
    5. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization," NBER Working Papers 16512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2007. "Social Memory and Evidence from the Past," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000850, UCLA Department of Economics.
    7. Alessandro Belmonte & Michael Rochlitz, 2017. "Collective Memories, Propaganda and Authoritarian Political Support," HSE Working papers WP BRP 43/PS/2017, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    8. Levy, Raphaël, 2014. "Soothing politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 126-133.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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