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Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth

Harold Cole (), George Mailath () and Andrew Postlewaite ()

Journal of Political Economy, 1992, vol. 100, issue 6, 1092-1125

Abstract: The authors argue that many goods and decisions are not allocated or made through markets. They interpret an agent's status as a ranking device that determines how well he or she fares in the nonmarket sector. The existence of a nonmarket sector can endogenously generate a concern for relative position in, for example, the income distribution so that higher income implies higher status. Moreover, it can naturally yield multiple equilibria. It is thus possible to explain differences in growth rates across countries without recourse to differences in underlying preferences, technologies, or endowments. Different social organizations lead to different reduced-form preferences, which lead to different growth rates. Copyright 1992 by University of Chicago Press.

Date: 1992
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