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The persistence of inferior cultural-institutional conventions

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  • Marianna Belloc
  • Samuel Bowles

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianna Belloc & Samuel Bowles, 2012. "The persistence of inferior cultural-institutional conventions," Working Papers 157, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sap:wpaper:wp157
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Boris Gershman, 2016. "Long-Run Development and the New Cultural Economics," Working Papers 2016-06, American University, Department of Economics.
    2. H Peyton Young, 2014. "The Evolution of Social Norms," Economics Series Working Papers 726, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. repec:spr:joecth:v:64:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00199-016-0988-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3064-3103, October.
    5. Newton, Jonathan & Angus, Simon D., 2015. "Coalitions, tipping points and the speed of evolution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 172-187.
    6. Carlo Beretta, 2016. "Variazioni neoclassiche," QUADERNI DI ECONOMIA DEL LAVORO, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(106), pages 101-119.
    7. Innocenti, Stefania & Cowan, Robin, 2016. "Mimetic behaviour and institutional persistence: A two-armed bandit experiment," MERIT Working Papers 028, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    8. Fabio Landini, 2016. "The evolution of control in the digital economy," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 407-441, May.
    9. repec:syd:wpaper:2123/9993 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sung-Ha Hwang & Jonathan Newton, 2017. "Payoff-dependent dynamics and coordination games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 64(3), pages 589-604, October.
    11. Tiziano Distefano & Simone D'Alessandro, 2018. "An Evolutionary Approach to International Environmental Agreements," SEEDS Working Papers 0418, SEEDS, Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies, revised Mar 2018.
    12. Pauline Grosjean & Rose Khattar, 2014. "It's Raining Men! Hallelujah?," Discussion Papers 2014-29C, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    13. Pauline Grosjean & Rose Khattar, 2014. "It's Raining Men! Hallelujah?," Discussion Papers 2014-29A, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    14. Andreas Reinstaller, 2013. "An evolutionary view on social innovation and the process of economic change," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 43, WWWforEurope.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    endogenous institutions; endogenous social norms; cultural-institutional persistence; evolutionary game theory;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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