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A Theory of Social Interactions


Gary S. Becker


University of Chicago - Department of Economics; University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

June 1974

NBER Working Paper No. w0042

Abstract:     
This essay incorporates a general treatment of social interactions into the modern theory of consumer demand. Section 1 introduces the topic and explores some of the existing perspectives on social interactions and their importance in the basic structure of wants. In Section 2, various characteristics of different persons are assumed to affect the utility functions of some persons, and the behavioral implications are systematically explored. Section 3 develops further implications and applications in the context of analyzing intra-family relations, charitable behavior, merit goods and multi-persons interactions, and envy and hatred. The variety and significance of these applications is persuasive testimony not only to the importance of social interactions, but also to the feasibility of incorporating them into a rigorous analysis.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 55

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Date posted: January 5, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Becker, Gary S., A Theory of Social Interactions (June 1974). NBER Working Paper No. w0042. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=259353

Contact Information

Gary S. Becker (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )
1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
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