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Cultural transmission, public goods, and institutions.

Frot, Emmanuel (2007) Cultural transmission, public goods, and institutions. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis discusses the consequences of different institutional forms in various settings, with a particular focus on the interactions between institutions, cultural transmission, and public goods. Chapter 1 introduces the main ideas, motivation, and results of the subsequent chapters. It provides a detailed summary of the thesis. Chapter 2 considers how institutions that modify behaviors affect the transmission of cultural traits. It argues that they create an environment that crowds out the behavior they were trying to promote. When applied to a model of public good provisions it illustrates how institutions that reduce free riding may decrease the level of public good in the long run. Chapter 3 extends this framework to make institutions endogenous. Individuals vote for their preferred institutional arrangement and the outcome is determined by majority voting. The crowding out of behaviors imply that agents have an incentive to affect strategically the transmission of preferences through collective socialization. Institutions can induce the formation of additional institutions such as schools in order to guarantee their sustainability. Chapter 4 considers that children acquire preferences through the choice of friends in the population, and that parents try to influence this choice. It shows how this creates a game between parents where their efforts to socialize their children to a particular cultural trait constitutes a public good. It studies the consequences for cultural groups of being intolerant and how they can survive cultural transmission. Chapter 5 uses the important example of commons as an institutional failure. It examines the case for privatization in an environment with different resources that may not be all privatized. It shows that labor reallocation reduces the gains of privatization, potentially to the point of reducing welfare. First best institutions may fail in a second best environment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Economics, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1975

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