Sociability and the Market
This paper addresses two classroom activities for exploring sociability and the role it plays in market and non-market allocations. Adam Smith’s moral sentiments theory provides a conceptual framework for understanding such behavior. In the Desert Island activity students have conversations about competing allocation methods (e.g., rationing, lottery, competition, brute force) that provide a backdrop for learning about market mechanisms and behavioral economics. Beginning students consistently pick egalitarian distributions that signal the implicit willingness to share for reasons that might be instinctual, reputational or other. Fairness in allocations mimics that found in the playing of the Ultimatum Game. The results suggest that economic instructors can successfully bring into the classroom concepts of sociability and the roles it serves in human institutions when introducing a new and different institution—the market.
Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (January)
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