Apr 26, 2011

Book review of the day: "Identity Economics"

Akerlof, George A. and Kranton, Rachel (2010) "Identity Economics." Princeton University Press. See the book review here.

Akerlof is the author of the now classic article on economics and identity. The book is a good effort to include different variables (other than traditional economic variables) into the analysis of human behavior.
But while Becker and his disciples account for some noneconomic motivations, they generally assume such tastes to be universal and static. Akerlof and Kranton, however, argue that taste is largely dependent on social context. "Taste has been taken as a given, and economists weren't supposed to explore where they come from and how they change. But taste is not a cultural constant," Kranton tells me. "Once you recognize that, you have a different view of how people will act in certain circumstances."
I believe that economics have been more successful than anthropologist (economic anthropologist, in particular) in crossing the boundaries of the social sciences (in this case from economics to culture).

No comments:

Post a Comment