Punctuality: A Cultural Trait as Equilibrium
Cornell University - Department of Economics; Harvard University - Harvard Institute of Economic Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); World Bank
Jorgen W. Weibull
Boston University - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
June 10, 2002
MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 02-26
A people's culture, norms and habits are important determinants not just of the quality of social life but of economic progress and growth. In this paper we take the view that while the importance of culture is undeniable, the innateness of culture is not. We work here with a single example and demonstrate how a human trait which is widely believed to be cultural is at the same time a matter of choice. The example that we shall work with concerns punctuality. We show that punctuality may be simply an equilibrium response of individuals to what they expect others to do. The same society can get caught in a punctual equilibrium or a non-punctual equilibrium.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Punctuality, coordination games, culture, norms
JEL Classification: Z10, C72, D29, O12
Date posted: June 28, 2002
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