How can economists define social preferences and interactions?

Culture, familial beliefs, religion, and other sources contain the origins of social preferences.  Those preferences--the desire for social status, for instance, or the disinclination to receive financial support--often accompany predictable economic outcomes.  Through the use of new economic data and tools, our contributors survey an array of social interactions and decisions that typify homo economicus.  Their work brings order to the sometimes conflicting claims that countries, environments, beliefs, and other influences make on our economic decisions.

Key Features

  • Describes recent scholarship on social choice and introduces new evidence about social preferences
  • Advances our understanding about quantifying social interactions and the effects of culture
  • Summarizes research on theoretical and applied economic analyses of social preferences


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

Table of Contents

 Social Preferences

  • Nature and Nurture Effects On Children's Outcomes (Bruce Sacerdote)
  • Social Norms and Preferences (Andrew Postlewaite)
  • Preferences for Status: Evidence and Economic Implications (Ori Heffetz and Robert H. Frank)
  • Preferences for Redistribution (Alberto Alesina and Paola Giuliano)
  • Theories of Statistical Discrimination and Affirmative Action (Hanmign Fang and Andrea Moro)
  • Social Construction of Preferences: Advertising (Jess Benhabib and Alberto Bisin)
  • The Evolutionary Foundations of Preferences (Arthur J. Robson and Larry Samuelson)
  • Social Norms (Mary A. Burke and H. Peyton Young)
  • The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization (Alberto Bisin and Thierry Verdier)
  • Civic Capital as the Missing Link (Luigi Guiso, Paola Sapienza, and Luigi Zingales)
  • Does Culture Matter? (Raquel Fernández)

 Social Actions

  • An Overview of Social networks and Economic Applications (Matthew O. Jackson)
  • Local Interactions (Onur Özgür)
  • Diffusion, Strategic Interaction, and Social Structure (Matthew O. jackson and Leeat Yariv)
  • Learning in Networks (Sanjeev Goyal)
  • Formation of Networks and Coalitions (Francis Block and Bhaskar Dutta)
  • Matching, Allocation, and Exchange of Discrete Resources (Tayfun Sönmez and M. Utku Ünver)


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

About the series-volume-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