How can economists define and measure social preferences and interactions?

Through the use of new economic data and tools, our contributors survey an array of social interactions and decisions that typify homo economicus. Identifying economic strains in activities such as learning, group formation, discrimination, and the creation of peer dynamics, they demonstrate how they tease out social preferences from the influences of culture, familial beliefs, religion, and other forces.

Key Features

  • Advances our understanding about quantifying social interactions and the effects of culture
  • Summarizes research on theoretical and applied economic analyses of social preferences
  • Explores the recent willingness among economists to consider new arguments in the utility function


Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, professors, and professionals working in all segments of economics and finance.

Table of Contents

 Social Preferences

  • Cultural Transmission and Socialization. (A. Bisin and T. Verdier)
  • Social Construction of Preferences (J. Benhabib and A. Bisin)
  • Preferences for Status (R. Frank and Ori Heffetz)
  • Evolutionary Selection (A. Robson and L. Samuelson)
  • Nature and Nurture (B. Sacerdote)
  • Social Beliefs (A. Alesina and P. Giuliano)
  • Does Culture Matter? (R. Fernandez)
  • Social Capital (L. Guiso, P. Sapienza, L. Zingales)

 Empirical Analysis of Social Interactions

  •  Identification of Social Interactions (L. Blume, W. Brock, S. Durlauf, Y. Ioannides)
  • Neighborhood Effects and Housing (Y. Ioannides)
  • Peer and Neighborhood Effects in Education (D. Epple and R. Romano)
  • Labor Markets and Referrals (G. Topa)
  • Risk Sharing Among and Between Households (M. Fafchamps)
  • Credit and Labor Networks in Development (K. Munshi)
  • Econometric Methods for the Analysis of Assignment Problems in the Presence of Complimentary and Social Spillovers (B. Graham)

 Social Actions

  • Norms, Customs, and Conventions (P. Young and M. Burke)
  • Social Norms and Social Assets (A. Postlewaite)
  • Local Interactions (O. Ozgur)
  • Group Formation and Local Interactions (S. Durlauf)
  • An Overview of Social Networks and their Analysis (M. Jackson)
  • Formation of Networks and Coalitions (F. Bloch and B. Dutta)
  • Diffusion, Strategic Interaction, Social Structure (M. Jackson and L. Yariv)
  • Herding (C. Chamley)
  • Learning in Social Networks (S. Goyal)
  • Experiments in Social Learning (S. Kariv)
  • Matching, Allocation, and Exchange of Discrete Resources (T. Sonmez & U. Unver)
  • Discrimination (G. Loury)
  • The Importance of Segregation, Discrimination


No. of pages:
© 2011
North Holland
eBook ISBN:
Print ISBN:

About the editors

Jess Benhabib

Affiliations and Expertise

New York University, NY, USA

Alberto Bisin

Affiliations and Expertise

New York University, NY, USA

Matthew Jackson

Affiliations and Expertise

Stanford University, CA, USA