Culture in Economics: History, Methodological Reflections and Contemporary Applications

Culture in Economics: History, Methodological Reflections and Contemporary Applications

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Robbert Maseland Sjoerd Beugelsdijk
Cambridge University Press, 12/23/2010
EAN 9780521193009, ISBN10: 0521193001

Hardcover, 400 pages, 23.4 x 15.8 x 2.4 cm
Language: English

Many economists now accept that informal institutions and culture play a crucial role in economic outcomes. Driven by the work of economists like Nobel laureates Douglass North and Gary Becker, there is an important body of work that invokes cultural and institutional factors to build a more comprehensive and realistic theory of economic behavior. This book provides a comprehensive overview of research in this area, sketching the main premises and challenges faced by the field. The first part introduces and explains the various theoretical approaches to studying culture in economics, going back to Smith and Weber, and addresses the methodological issues that need to be considered when including culture in economics. The second part of the book then provides readers with a series of examples that show how the cultural approach can be used to explain economic phenomena in four different areas: entrepreneurship, trust, international business and comparative corporate governance.

List of figures
List of tables
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Part I. Historical and Methodological Reflections on Culture in Economics
1. Defining culture
2. How culture disappeared from economics
3. Explaining the rise of culture in modern economics
4. Culture in economics
contemporary theoretical perspectives
5. A methodological perspective on culture in economics
Part II. Applications of Culture in Contemporary Economics
Introduction to Part II
6. Entrepreneurial culture
7. Trust
8. International business
9. Comparative corporate governance
Part III. Evaluation
10. Discussion

'This important new book on culture in economics by Sjoerd Beugelsdijk and Robbert Maseland is most welcome. It fills an important gap in the literature that has only recently been recognised. After decades of sceptical methodological isolationism, economists have come to accept that without reference to people's systems of norms and beliefs a large part of the differences in performance across populations would go unexplained. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in truly understanding economics.' Luigi Guiso, Professor of Economics, European University Institute