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Theory of Values

  • Andreas Georgiadis
  • Alan Manning

Economists have a well-developed theory of value but the theory of why people hold the values they do is rudimentary at best. In spite of the fact that it is common to argue that values are important, most work on values is normative and the positive theory of values is relatively under- developed. In this paper we propose a simple yet general way to think about values - they are about how one trades-off one own's utility against that of others - and argue that we can draw on the large literature on pro-social behavior for hypotheses on how people will choose values. Then, using data from the UK's Citizenship Survey we show how models of self-interest, fairness, reciprocity and identity, can explain many of the patterns that we observe in the data across a wide variety of values.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0943.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0943
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  1. James Konow, 2003. "Which Is the Fairest One of All? A Positive Analysis of Justice Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1188-1239, December.
  2. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Bisin, Alberto & Patacchini, Eleonora & Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2006. "'Bend It Like Beckham': Identity, Socialization and Assimilation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Jha, Saumitra, 2008. "Trade, Institutions and Religious Tolerance: Evidence from India," Research Papers 2004, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  13. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2009. "One Nation Under a Groove? Identity and Multiculturalism in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0944, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  16. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:3:p:817-869 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
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  19. Angrist, Joshua & Chin, Aimee & Godoy, Ricardo, 2008. "Is Spanish-only schooling responsible for the Puerto Rican language gap?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 105-128, February.
  20. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
  21. Alan Manning & Sanchari Roy, 2007. "Culture Clash or Culture Club? The Identity and Attitudes of Immigrants in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0790, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  23. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
  24. Oriol Aspachs-Bracons & Irma Clots-Figueras & Joan Costa-Font & Paolo Masella, 2008. "Compulsory Language Educational Policies and Identity Formation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 434-444, 04-05.
  25. Ken Binmore, 1994. "Game Theory and the Social Contract, Volume 1: Playing Fair," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262023636, June.
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