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A theory of tolerance

  • Corneo, Giacomo
  • Jeanne, Olivier

We develop an economic theory of tolerance where endogenous lifestyles and exogenous traits are invested with symbolic value by people. Value systems are rationally chosen by parents for their children. In conjunction with actual behavior, value systems determine the esteem enjoyed by individuals. Intolerant individuals attach all symbolic value to a small number of attributes and are irrespectful of people with di¤erent ones. Tolerant people have diversi ed values and respect social alterity. We study the formation of values attached to various types of attributes and identify circumstances under which tolerance spontaneously arises. Policy may a¤ect the evolution of tolerance in distinctive ways, and there may be efficiency as well as equity reasons to promote tolerance.

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Paper provided by Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2007/13.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:200713
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  10. Renault, Régis & Auriol, Emmanuelle, 2008. "Status and incentives," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12479, Paris Dauphine University.
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  12. Weiss, Yoram & Fershtman, Chaim, 1998. "Social status and economic performance:: A survey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 801-820, May.
  13. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
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  15. Frank, Robert H, 1987. "If Homo Economicus Could Choose His Own Utility Function, Would He Want One with a Conscience?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 593-604, September.
  16. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2007. "Moral Rules, the Moral Sentiments, and Behavior: Toward a Theory of an Optimal Moral System," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 494-514.
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