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Joan Costa-Font and Mario Macis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035651

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035651.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Changing Culture to Change Society?

Changing Culture to Change Society?

(p.261) 12 Changing Culture to Change Society?
Social Economics

Mireia Borrell-Porta

Joan Costa-Font

Azusa Sato

The MIT Press

Can culture be a policy variable, and hence of use to change society? What can we infer from the existing datasets and methods in economics? How different it is from what social scientists define as culture? Drawing on evidence from migrants interviewed in the European Values Study 2008- 2010 we show evidence of cultural persistence on a large set of attitudes suggesting that culture is a relevant variable for policy to account for. We then offer its downsides and then move to the meaning of culture in other social sciences which allows for more general equilibrium effects, and we propose to focus instead on cultural identity change reflecting newly internalized cultural norms. We argue that on the basis of the existing evidence there is some scope for changing cultural social norms that shape the locus of value (meaningfulness) in a society, which can in induce forms of ‘social change’. However, unlike with social norms, core beliefs in a society are likely to be culturally persistent.

Keywords:   Culture, Context, beliefs, identity, social change, meaningfulness, reference points, JEL: Z1, Z13, Z18

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