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The persistence of inferior cultural-institutional conventions

  • Marianna Belloc
  • Samuel Bowles
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    Our theory of cultural-institutional persistence and innovation is based on uncoordinated updating of individual social norms and contracts, so that both culture and institutions are endogenous. We explain why Pareto-dominated cultural-institutional configurations may persist over long periods and how transitions may nonetheless occur. Unlike models in which elites may impose inferior institutions or cultures as a self-interested distributional strategies, in our model, the exercise of elite power plays no role in either persistence or innovation, and transitions occur endogenously. We show that persistence will be the greater the more inferior is the Pareto-dominated configuration and the more rational and individualistic is the population.

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    Paper provided by University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics in its series Working Papers with number 157.

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    Length: 16
    Date of creation: Nov 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:sap:wpaper:wp157
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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2008. "Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions, and Clubs," NBER Working Papers 14239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    6. Lawrence E. Blume, 1994. "How Noise Matters," Game Theory and Information 9407002, EconWPA, revised 27 Jul 1994.
    7. Binmore, Ken & Samuelson, Larry & Young, Peyton, 2003. "Equilibrium selection in bargaining models," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 296-328, November.
    8. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Why Not a Political Coase Theorem? Social Conflict, Commitment and Politics," NBER Working Papers 9377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
    10. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World
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