The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization

107 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2010 Last revised: 13 Feb 2021

See all articles by Alberto Bisin

Alberto Bisin

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics; New York University (NYU) - Center for Experimental Social Science (CESS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Thierry Verdier

Paris School of Economics (PSE); Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: November 2010

Abstract

Cultural transmission arguably plays an important role in the determination of many fundamental preference traits (e.g., discounting, risk aversion and altruism) and most cultural traits, social norms, and ideological tenets ( e.g., attitudes towards family and fertility practices, and attitudes in the job market). It is, however, the pervasive evidence of the resilience of ethnic and religious traits across generations that motivates a large fraction of the theoretical and empirical literature on cultural transmission. This article reviews the main contributions of models of cultural transmission, from theoretical and empirical perspectives. It presents their implications regarding the long-run population dynamics of cultural traits and cultural heterogeneity, the world's geographical fragmentation by ethic and religious traits, at any given time. Finally, the paper reviews the empirical literature which estimates various properties of cultural transmission mechanisms as well as the population dynamics of specific traits.

Suggested Citation

Bisin, Alberto and Verdier, Thierry, The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization (November 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16512, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1703305

Alberto Bisin (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics

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New York University (NYU) - Center for Experimental Social Science (CESS) ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Thierry Verdier

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

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Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio) - Department of Economics ( email )

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Brazil

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

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