World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data

World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data
Values Matter
Avner Ben-Ner & Louis Putterman
World Economics, March 2000

Human beings display a complex set of behavioural predispositions, including a strong inclination to pursue self-interest but also empathy, receptivity to norms of reciprocity, and an inclination to punish violators of such norms. Not only are workable economic arrangements constrained by the types of people a society shapes from the genetic material at hand, but also, the arrangements adopted will themselves strengthen or weaken dispositions towards reciprocity and other behaviors. Here the case is argued for considering the two-way interaction between institutions and values by discussing three examples: the workplace, the family, and social insurance systems.


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