IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Occupational choice and the spirit of capitalism

  • Matthias Doepke
  • Fabrizio Zilibotti

The British Industrial Revolution triggered a reversal in the social order of society whereby the landed elite was replaced by industrial capitalists rising from the middle classes as the economically dominant group. Many observers have linked this transformation to the contrast in values between a hard-working and frugal middle class and an upper class imbued with disdain for work. We propose an economic theory of preference formation where both the divergence of attitudes across social classes and the ensuing reversal of economic fortunes are equilibrium outcomes. In our theory, parents shape their children's preferences in response to economic incentives. If financial markets are imperfect, this results in the stratification of society along occupational lines. Middle-class families in occupations that require effort, skill, and experience develop patience and work ethic, whereas upper-class families relying on rental income cultivate a refined taste for leisure. These class-specific attitudes, which are rooted in the nature of pre-industrial professions, become key determinants of success once industrialization transforms the economic landscape.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_iew/iewwp326.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 326.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:326
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Schönberggasse 1, CH-8001 Zürich

Phone: +41-1-634 21 37
Fax: +41-1-634 49 82
Web page: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Policies to Foster Human Capital," JCPR Working Papers 154, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  2. Caselli, Francesco & Gennaioli, Nicola, 2003. "Dynastic Management," CEPR Discussion Papers 3767, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
  4. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," NBER Working Papers 9237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  6. Lionel, Artige & Carmen Camacho & David de la Croix, 2003. "Wealth breeds decline : Reversals of leadership and consumption habits," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2003009, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  7. Christopher D. Carroll & Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Consumption Growth Parallels Income Growth: Some New Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 305-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2004. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 743-768.
  9. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Dohmen, Thomas J & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe, 2008. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Risk and Trust Attitudes," CEPR Discussion Papers 6844, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Christopher D Carroll, 2000. "Portfolios of the Rich," Economics Working Paper Archive 430, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  12. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1992. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Maria S�ez-Mart� & Yves Zenou, 2007. "Cultural transmission and discrimination," IEW - Working Papers 348, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Apr 2012.
  14. Peter Temin & Joachim Voth, 2005. "Private borrowing during the financial revolution: Hoare’s Bank and its customers, 1702-1724," Economics Working Papers 860, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  15. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Robert J. Barro & Rachel McCleary, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Becker, Sascha O. & Wößmann, Ludger, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," Discussion Papers in Economics 1366, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  18. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
  19. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," GSIA Working Papers 1997-37, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  20. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633 Elsevier.
  21. repec:hhs:iuiwop:557 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Cash-on-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1511-1560.
  23. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & Melonie B. Williams, 2002. "Estimating Individual Discount Rates in Denmark: A Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1606-1617, December.
  24. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1007-1047.
  25. de la Croix, David & Michel, Philippe, 1997. "Optimal growth when tastes are inherited," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1997012, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Jun 1997.
  26. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2002. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," NBER Working Papers 8920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  28. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
  29. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2005. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 922-948, December.
  30. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  31. Joachim Voth & Peter Temin, 2005. "Interest rate restrictions in a natural experiment: loan allocation and the change in the usury laws in 1714," Economics Working Papers 858, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  32. Clark, Gregory & Hamilton, Gillian, 2006. "Survival of the Richest: The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 707-736, September.
  33. Tiago Cavalcanti & Stephen Parente & Rui Zhao, 2007. "Religion in macroeconomics: a quantitative analysis of Weber’s thesis," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(1), pages 105-123, July.
  34. James Heckman & Pedro Carneiro, 2003. "Human Capital Policy," NBER Working Papers 9495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Hauk, Esther & Sáez-Martí, María, 2001. "On the Cultural Transmission of Corruption," Working Paper Series 564, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  36. John H. A. Munro, 2005. "Builders' Wages in Southern England and the Southern Low Countries, 1346 -1500:A Comparative Study of Trends in and Levels of Real Incomes," Working Papers munro-04-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  37. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-98, April.
  38. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg, 2001. "Raising Children to Work Hard: Altruism, Work Norms and Social Insurance," CESifo Working Paper Series 498, CESifo Group Munich.
  39. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  40. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Tom Nicholas, 1999. "Businessmen and land ownership in the late nineteenth century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 52(1), pages 27-44, 02.
  42. D. C. Moore, 1965. "The Corn Laws and High Farming," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 18(3), pages 544-561, December.
  43. Doepke, Matthias & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2005. "Patience Capital and the Demise of the Aristocracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5106, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  44. Peter Temin & Hans-Joachim Voth, 0000. "The Speed of the Financial Revolution: Evidence from Hoare's Bank," Working Papers 212, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  45. H. V. Bowen, 1989. "Investment and empire in the later eighteenth century: East India stockholding, 1756-1791," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 42(2), pages 186-206, 05.
  46. Oded Galor & Stelios Michalopoulos, 2006. "Darwinian Evolution of Entrepreneurial Spirit and the Process of Development," Working Papers 2006-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  47. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "Discount rate heterogeneity and social security reform," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 117-146, October.
  48. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2002. "The Correlation of Welath Across Generations," NBER Working Papers 9314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  49. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
  50. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1993. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 413-435.
  51. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
  52. John M. Barron & Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 2006. "Selective Counteroffers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 385-410, July.
  53. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
  54. Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1997. "The Endogenous Determination of Time Preference," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 729-758.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:326. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marita Kieser)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.