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Symposium 2015

Identity, Culture, and the Evolution of Norms: Reflexive Dynamics and New Thinking on Human Decision Making

The Challenge

The conception people have of themselves, formed through the cultural and social constructs within which their personal identities are developed, is unquestionably a key determinant of social behavior. But in economics it has until recently played almost no role. In recent years, however, a new body of research has begun to grow that examines actual decision making in areas such as education, spending, saving and the work/leisure trade-off.

How does the development of this field of “identity economics” force us to rethink longstanding notions of rational behavior in neoclassical economics? How do changing cultural norms affect the economic decision making process? And how, in response, does the economic environment help produce individual and social identity? This panel will examine recent developments in a variety of disciplines that all treat this nest of problems.

This session is organized by the Institute for New Economic Thinking.