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Symbolic values, occupational choice, and economic development

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  • Corneo, Giacomo
  • Jeanne, Olivier

Abstract

Channeling human resources into occupations with high social productivity has historically been a key to economic prosperity. Occupational choices are not only driven by the material rewards associated with the various occupations, but also driven by the esteem that they confer. We propose a model of endogenous growth in which occupations carry a symbolic value that makes them more or less attractive; the evolution of symbolic values is endogenously determined by purposive transmission of value systems within families. The model sheds light on the interaction between cultural and economic development and identifies circumstances under which value systems matter for long-run growth. It shows the possibility of culturally determined poverty traps and offers a framework for thinking about the transition from traditional to modern values.

Suggested Citation

  • Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2010. "Symbolic values, occupational choice, and economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 237-251, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:54:y:2010:i:2:p:237-251
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    Cited by:

    1. Della Giusta, Marina & Jewell, Sarah, 2018. "Working for nothing: personality, time allocation and earnings in the UK," MPRA Paper 91481, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Cervellati, Matteo & Vanin, Paolo, 2013. "“Thou shalt not covet”: Prohibitions, temptation and moral values," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 15-28.
    3. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2014. "Instrumental cardinal concerns for social status in two-sided matching with non-transferable utility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 174-189.
    4. Cipriani, Marco & Giuliano, Paola & Jeanne, Olivier, 2013. "Like mother like son? Experimental evidence on the transmission of values from parents to children," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 100-111.
    5. Corneo, Giacomo, 2013. "Work norms, social insurance and the allocation of talent," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 79-92.
    6. Chakraborty, Shankha & Thompson, Jon C. & Yehoue, Etienne B., 2016. "The culture of entrepreneurship," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 288-317.
    7. Hiller, Victor, 2011. "Work organization, preferences dynamics and the industrialization process," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(7), pages 1007-1025.
    8. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2009. "A theory of tolerance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 691-702, June.
    9. repec:rdg:wpaper:em-dp2011-01 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kangoh Lee, 2017. "Norms and monetary fines as deterrents, and distributive effects," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 1-27, May.
    11. Adriani, Fabrizio & Sonderegger, Silvia, 2009. "Why do parents socialize their children to behave pro-socially? An information-based theory," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1119-1124, December.
    12. Tamás Keller & Guido Neidhöfer, 2014. "Who Dares, Wins?: A Sibling Analysis of Tertiary Education Transition in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 713, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    13. Maclean, Johanna Catherine & Hill, Terrence D., 2015. "Leaving school in an economic downturn and self-esteem across early and middle adulthood," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 1-12.
    14. Giacomo Corneo & Frank Neher, 2014. "Income inequality and self-reported values," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 12(1), pages 49-71, March.
    15. repec:aia:ginidp:dp17 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Fabrizio Adriani & Silvia Sonderegger, 2018. "The Signaling Value of Punishing Norm-Breakers and Rewarding Norm-Followers," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(4), pages 1-32, December.
    17. David Zetland & Marina Della Giusta, 2011. "Focal Points, Gender Norms and Reciprocation in Public Good Games," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2011-01, Department of Economics, University of Reading.
    18. Cécile CEZANNE & Laurence SAGLIETTO, 2014. "Human Capital-Intensive Firms and Symbolic Value Creation," Timisoara Journal of Economics and Business, West University of Timisoara, Romania, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 7(1), pages 70-88.
    19. Giacomo Corneo, 2011. "GINI DP 17: Income Inequality, Value Systems and Macroeconomic Performance," GINI Discussion Papers 17, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Symbolic values Occupational choice Economic development Long-run growth;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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