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Punctuality - A Cultural Trait as Equilibrium

  • Basu, Kaushik

    (Department of Economics)

  • Weibull, Jörgen W.


    (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

A people's culture, norms and habits are important determinants not just of the quality of social life but of economic progress and growth. In this paper we take the view that while the importance of culture is undeniable, the innateness of culture is not. We work here with a single example and demonstrate how a human trait which is widely believed to be cultural is at the same time a matter of choice. The example that we shall work with concerns punctuality. We show that punctuality may be simply an equilibrium response of individuals to what they expect others to do. The same society can get caught in a punctual equilibrium or a non-punctual equilibrium.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 582.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 10 Jun 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as the book Punctuality - A Cultural Trait as an Equilibrium, 2003, in R. Arnott et al. (eds.), Economics for an Imperfect World: Essays in Honor of Joseph Stiglitz, MIT Press, Cambridge USA.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0582
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
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  1. Kandori, M. & Mailath, G.J., 1991. "Learning, Mutation, And Long Run Equilibria In Games," Papers 71, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
  2. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  3. Ganslandt, Mattias & Carlsson, Hans, 1997. "Noisy Equilibrium Selection in Coordination Games," Working Paper Series 485, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  4. KOHLBERG, Elon & MERTENS, Jean-François, . "On the strategic stability of equilibria," CORE Discussion Papers RP 716, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "The Theory of "Screening," Education, and the Distribution of Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 283-300, June.
  6. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  7. Hvide, Hans K, 2001. "Some Comments on Free-Riding in Leontief Partnerships," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(3), pages 467-73, July.
  8. Bryant, John, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-Type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-28, August.
  9. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, June.
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