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Peers and Culture

  • Maria Saez-Marti
  • Anna Sjögren

We analyze the evolution of culture when parents socialize children to the cultural variants that maximize child lifetime utility. Parents invest in cultural transmission taking into account that children are also influenced by peers. We model the influence of peers by assuming that children observe different cultural variants in their peer group, assign merit to them and adopt one variant, following a probabilistic adoption rule. We show that cultural diversity is sustainable even if all parents strive to transmit the same variant. We also show that a parental demand for cultural pluralism does not guarantee cultural diversity.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 349.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:349
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  1. Hauk, Esther & Sáez-Martí, María, 2001. "On the Cultural Transmission of Corruption," Working Paper Series 564, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  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. Gary S. Becker, 1991. "A Note on Restaurant Pricing and Other Examples of Social Influences on Price," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 67, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  4. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human-Capital Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 365-90, June.
  5. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, 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.
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