Tastes, Castes, and Culture: The Influence of Society on Preferences
University of Zurich - Department of Economics
World Bank - Development Economics Group (DEC)
August 1, 2011
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5760
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: Biodiversity, Labor Policies, Economic Theory & Research, Cultural Policy, Gender and Social Developmentworking papers series
Date posted: August 16, 2011
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