The economics of cultural transmission and the dynamics of preferences

Alberto Bisin, Thierry Verdier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper studies the population dynamics of preference traits in a model of intergenerational cultural transmission. Parents socialize and transmit their preferences to their offspring, motivated by a form of paternalistic altruism ("imperfect empathy"). In such a setting we study the long run stationary state pattern of preferences in the population, according to various socialization mechanisms and institutions, and identify sufficient conditions for the global stability of an heterogenous stationary distribution of the preference traits. We show that cultural transmission mechanisms have very different implications than evolutionary selection mechanisms with respect to the dynamics of the distribution of the traits in the population, and we study mechanisms which interact evolutionary selection and cultural transmission. Journal of Economic Literature Classification numbers: D10, I20, J13.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)298-319
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Economic Theory
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2001

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics


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