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Empirical Models of Cultural Transmission


  • Alberto Bisin

    (New York University)

  • Giorgio Topa

    (New York University,)


This paper reviews several issues concerning an empirical analysis of the endogenous formation of preferences, as well as cognitive and psychological traits. In particular we show by means of examples how, with existing data, it is possible to identify empirically the distinct influence of family and society at large in the determination of cultural traits, and to disentangle genetic inheritability from cultural and environmental factors determining cognitive and psychological traits. (JEL: I2, Z1, D9) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Bisin & Giorgio Topa, 2003. "Empirical Models of Cultural Transmission," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 363-375, 04/05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:1:y:2003:i:2-3:p:363-375

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
    2. Jens Ludwig & Greg J. Duncan & Paul Hirschfield, 2001. "Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 655-679.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose Scheinkman, 2000. "Non-Market Interactions," NBER Working Papers 8053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 235-260.
    5. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
    6. Lawrence F. Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 607-654.
    7. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    8. Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Peer Effects with Random Assignment: Results for Dartmouth Roommates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 681-704.
    9. Rauch James E., 1993. "Productivity Gains from Geographic Concentration of Human Capital: Evidence from the Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 380-400, November.
    10. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1999. "How Large are the Social Returns to Education? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," NBER Working Papers 7444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zafar, Basit, 2011. "An experimental investigation of why individuals conform," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 774-798, August.
    2. Kirchsteiger, Georg & Sebald, Alexander, 2010. "Investments into education--Doing as the parents did," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 501-516, May.
    3. Gilles Le Garrec, 2011. "Redistribution and the cultural transmission of the taste for fairness," Working Papers hal-01069524, HAL.
    4. Buechel, Berno & Hellmann, Tim & Pichler, Michael M., 2014. "The dynamics of continuous cultural traits in social networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 274-309.
    5. Gilles Le Garrec, 2011. "Redistribution and the cultural transmission of the taste for fairness," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2011-24, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    6. Prummer, Anja & Siedlarek, Jan-Peter, 2014. "Institutions And The Preservation Of Cultural Traits," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 470, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    7. Alessandro Cigno & Mizuki Komura & Annalisa Luporini, 2017. "Self-enforcing family rules, marriage and the (non)neutrality of public intervention," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 805-834, July.
    8. Cheung, Man-Wah & WU, JIABIN, 2016. "On The Transmission of Continuous Cultural Traits," MPRA Paper 69934, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Joan Costa-i-Font & Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Julian Le Grand, 2015. "Vertical Transmission of Overweight: Evidence from English Adoptees," CESifo Working Paper Series 5351, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization," NBER Working Papers 16512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Costa-Font, J. & Jofre-Bonet, M. & Le Grand, J., 2016. "Vertical Transmission of Overweight: Evidence from English Adoptees," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/05, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    12. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09iak4384sp is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Le Garrec, Gilles, 2013. "Guilt aversion and redistributive politics: A moral intuitionist approach," Economics Discussion Papers 2013-53, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    14. repec:eee:jetheo:v:174:y:2018:i:c:p:300-323 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2007:i:9:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Pichler, Michael, 2011. "The economics of cultural formation of preferences," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 431, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
    17. Panebianco, Fabrizio, 2014. "Socialization networks and the transmission of interethnic attitudes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 583-610.
    18. Krishna B. Kumar & John G. Matsusaka, 2004. "Village versus Market Social Capital: An Approach to Development," Development and Comp Systems 0408003, EconWPA.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics


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