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Theory of values

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  • Georgiadis, Andreas
  • Manning, Alan

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Georgiadis, Andreas & Manning, Alan, 2009. "Theory of values," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28613, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:28613
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Georgiadis, Andreas & Manning, Alan, 2009. "One nation under a groove? Identity and multiculturalism in Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28676, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Georgiadis, Andreas & Manning, Alan, 2013. "One nation under a groove? Understanding national identity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 166-185.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Values; Pro-Social Behaviour;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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