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Tastes, castes, and culture : the influence of society on preferences

Listed author(s):
  • Fehr, Ernst
  • Hoff, Karla

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 the authors 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.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5760.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2011
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5760
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  7. Dewatripont,Mathias & Hansen,Lars Peter & Turnovsky,Stephen J. (ed.), 2003. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521818728, December.
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  9. repec:hhs:iuiwop:557 is not listed on IDEAS
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  19. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
  20. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  21. Etzioni, Amitai, 1985. "Opening the preferences: A Socio-economic research agenda," Journal of Behavioral Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 183-198.
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  23. Karla Hoff & Priyanka Pandey, 2006. "Discrimination, Social Identity, and Durable Inequalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 206-211, May.
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