On the cultural transmission of preferences for social status

Alberto Bisin, Thierry Verdier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We study the formation of preferences for 'social status' as the result of intergenerational transmission of cultural traits. We characterize the behavior of parents with preferences for status in terms of socialization of their children to this particular cultural trait. We show that degenerate distributions of the population (whereby agents have either all status preferences or all non-status preferences) are dynamically unstable. Moreover, under some conditions, there exists a unique stationary distribution which is non-degenerate (in which both status and non-status preferences co-exist in the population), and this distribution is locally stable. Finally, we study the dependence of the stable stationary distribution of status preferences on institutional, technological and policy parameters which affect agents' economic conditions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)75-97
    Number of pages23
    JournalJournal of Public Economics
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Oct 1 1998


    • Cultural transmission
    • Social status
    • Socialization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Finance
    • Economics and Econometrics


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