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Coordination and Culture

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  • Jean-Paul Carvalho

Abstract

Culture constrains individual choice by making certain behaviour taboo. We propose an evolutionary model in which members of different groups attempt to coordinate over time. We show that cultural constraints can lead to a permanent break down in coordination between groups, even when coordination is attainable and Pareto-efficient. Hence restrictive cultures make coordination with out-group members more difficult. By limiting a person's options, however, highly restrictive cultures act as a strategic commitment, forcing out-group members to conform to in-group norms if they want to coordinate. In this way, cultural constraints on behaviour may lead to higher expected welfare. When people rationally choose their culture, we demonstrate that restrictive and permissive cultures can co-exist in the long run.

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  • Jean-Paul Carvalho, 2010. "Coordination and Culture," Economics Series Working Papers 489, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:489
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    3. Filipe R. Campante & David H. Yanagizawa-Drott, 2013. "Does Religion Affect Economic Growth and Happiness? Evidence from Ramadan," NBER Working Papers 19768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sebastiano Della Lena & Pietro Dindo, 2019. "On the Evolution of Norms in Strategic Environments," Working Papers 2019: 16, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    5. Maxim Ananyev & Michael Poyker, 2019. "State Capacity and Demand for Identity: Evidence from Political Instability in Mali," Working Papers Series 97, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    6. Moti Michaeli & Daniel Spiro, 2017. "From Peer Pressure to Biased Norms," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 152-216, February.
    7. Arun Advani & Bryony Reich, 2015. "Melting pot or salad bowl: the formation of heterogeneous communities," IFS Working Papers W15/30, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    8. Jean-Paul Carvalho, 2015. "Sacrifice and Sorting in Clubs," Working Papers 151604, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    9. Ivan Lopez Cruz & Gustavo Torrens, 2019. "The paradox of power revisited: internal and external conflict," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 68(2), pages 421-460, September.
    10. Neary, Philip R., 2012. "Competing conventions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 301-328.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Coordinatin games; Culture; Taboos; Commitments; Cultural evolution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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