John Helliwell, Shun Wang, Jinwen Xu, Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Social norms have been shown to have important effects on economic outcomes. This column discusses new evidence showing that social norms are deeply rooted in long-standing cultures, but do evolve in reaction to major changes. It draws on a fully global sample involving migrants in more than 130 countries, using seven waves of the Gallup World Poll.

Jean Tirole, Roland Bénabou, Monday, November 21, 2011

Why do many oppose the selling of human organs if, as economists argue, this would increase supply? Economists see material incentives as key to changing behaviour – and are puzzled if incentives don’t work as expected. For psychologists, social norms explain such behaviour; legal scholars say law can shape society’s norms. CEPR DP8663 tries to reconcile these disparate insights with a unifying theory that could explain puzzles such the aversion to organ-selling as well as why so many people resist economists’ advice.

Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What are the fundamental causes of differences in income per capita across countries? Although there is still little consensus on the answers to this question, it is often argued that social attitudes such as trust are one of the main determinants of economic development.