Tuesday, February 26, 2013

cross-cultural economics

In the summer of 2003, I was a pre-freshman research assistant at Caltech when Jean Ensminger gave a lecture to summer students on her research collaboration that was studying how notions of fairness vary around the globe. Her claim was that societies with more market integration have more strongly developed notions of 50-50-split type fairness norms. I was so fascinated by her talk that I immediately decided to double major in economics, having no idea what economics was other than this very behavioral/anthropological project. (It worked out ok though :) Ten years later, the influence of that talk is still obvious; I've studied social norms and fairness all through grad school.

Now, there's a nice journalistic treatment of (part of) this research program. Very good to see!

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(Although, it's pretty annoying when journalists inject so much of their own rumination and mold facts onto a more grandiose scaffolding. Nope, I just couldn't let it go without a token amount of whining about science journalism...)

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