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Socializing, Shared Experience and Popular Culture

We argue that socializing is an important economic activity because it is vital to our well being, and that an important input into the activity of socializing is the set of experiences that is shared by the participants. Clearly, a person's experiences are generated, in part, by standard economic choices, and therefore the set of shared experiences in any social encounter is driven by the prior economic choices of individual participants. One implication is that these prior choices are not purely private since the utility that individual participants derive from a social encounter is linked to them. Our model of this link provides an explanation of a number of interesting phenomena, including certain sorts of conformity, the domination of one culture by another, and the existence of superstars.

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File URL: http://www.sfu.ca/econ-research/RePEc/sfu/sfudps/dp00-13.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp00-13.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision: May 2000
Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp00-13
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Phone: (778)782-3508
Fax: (778)782-5944
Web page: http://www.sfu.ca/economics.html

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Web: http://www.sfu.ca/economics/research/publications.html Email:


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  1. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  2. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  3. Throsby, David, 1994. "The Production and Consumption of the Arts: A View of Cultural Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 1-29, March.
  4. Akerlof, George A, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617, November.
  5. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do National Borders Matter for Quebec's Trade?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 507-22, August.
  6. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  7. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  8. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "Conspicuous consumption, snobbism and conformism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 55-71, October.
  9. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  10. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
  11. Adler, Moshe, 1985. "Stardom and Talent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 208-12, March.
  12. Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-45, May.
  13. Basu, Kaushik, 1987. "Monopoly, quality uncertainty and 'status' goods," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 435-446.
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