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Tastes, Castes, and Culture: The Influence of Society on Preferences

Author

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  • Fehr, Ernst

    (University of Zurich)

  • Hoff, Karla

    (World Bank)

Abstract

Economists have traditionally treated preferences as exogenously given. Preferences are assumed to be influenced by neither beliefs nor the constraints people face. As a consequence, changes in behaviour are explained exclusively in terms of changes in the set of feasible alternatives. Here we argue that the opposition to explaining behavioural changes in terms of preference changes is ill-founded, that the psychological properties of preferences render them susceptible to direct social influences, and that the impact of "society" on preferences is likely to have important economic and social consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Fehr, Ernst & Hoff, Karla, 2011. "Tastes, Castes, and Culture: The Influence of Society on Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 5919, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5919
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    endogenous preferences; culture; caste; frames; anchors; elicitation devices;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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