نسبیت فرهنگی و سیاست گذاران ایدئولوژیک در یک مدل تعادل عمومی با شرکت های انتفاعی و غیرانتفاعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|28812||2008||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research in Economics, Volume 62, Issue 1, March 2008, Pages 1–15
This paper shows that two societies differing because of the people’s initial propensity to devote time and efforts to non-profit activities may never converge. This lack of convergence is interpreted as the tendency of the cultural values and attitudes dominant in each society to perpetuate because of the economic behavior and the social processes that they contribute to elicit. Furthermore, it may not be possible to rank the different steady states toward which these two societies converge according to the Paretian criterion. Finally, the paper examines policies that promote values and attitudes non-coincident with those that are currently dominant.
Cultural relativism is the principle that an individual’s beliefs and convictions make sense in terms of his or her own culture. Economists pay their methodological tribute to this principle as they abstain from normative judgements and maintain that economic outcomes should be evaluated in terms of some function of the preferences and tastes of those individuals whose well-being is affected by these outcomes, no matter what these preferences or tastes may be (“De gustibus non est disputandum”). Economists are also increasingly interested in the endogenous formation of preferences and beliefs and in the process whereby cultural values and economic outcomes mutually condition each other.1 An important–although still largely unexplored–implication of the hypothesis that cultural traits and socio-economic configurations tend to co-evolve in close interaction is that the individuals living in a society may prefer the economic outcomes prevailing in their own society to the economic outcomes of another society, while the individuals living in the latter may prefer the economic outcomes of their own society to those prevailing in the former: given the different preferences that have emerged in each society, individuals strictly prefer the equilibrium configuration characterizing their own society to that characterizing the other society. In these cases, economists should consistently suspend any judgement about which of the two socio-economic equilibria is more desirable. This sort of agnosticism is not necessarily shared by policy makers. Indeed, there are policy makers who implement policies that draw their inspiration from values and moral norms and that aim at affecting society’s attitudes and propensities. In this case, it is inappropriate to model the public policies as the result of the maximization of some function of individual preferences. Indeed, the scope of this kind of policy maker is not to select policies that optimally reflect the society’s current preferences, but rather to push an ideological agenda aimed at influencing people’s firm beliefs and convictions.2 In the last few years economic models have started analyzing the interaction between public policies and the evolution of tastes, attitudes and values. It has been recognized that the Lucas critique should be extended to any economic policy evaluation which assesses the effects of alternative public choices by treating individual preferences as invariant with respect to these choices.3 This recognition amounts to consider that “the effectiveness of policies and their political viability may depend on the preferences they induce or evoke” (Bowles, 1998, p. 104).4 This notwithstanding, the theory of economic policy still neglects the conceptual difficulty that arises when the welfare criterion adopted by the policy maker rests on individual preferences that are influenced by its own actions.5 Furthermore, this theory ignores that–even in democratic societies–it is not rare the case of policy makers which intend purposefully to utilize their policy instruments for promoting cultural and moral values, or for encouraging (or discouraging) propensities and attitudes that are highly controversial and sometimes shared only by a minority of the population.6 This paper addresses these issues by considering an economy where profit-maximizing firms and non-profit organizations coexist. In this context, the non-profit organizations have an “altruistic” objective, and the people’s attitudes toward working in one of them may depend on the degree of cohesion, generalized trust and altruism existing in the social environment, namely on the stock of “social capital” existing in the society.7 Hence, a peculiar hypothesis underlying the general equilibrium model proposed in this paper is that the people’s propensity to devote time and efforts to non-profit activities depends on the outstanding endowment of social capital.8 In its turn, the formation of social capital is stimulated by an increase in the aggregate volume of activities undertaken by the non-profit organizations.9 Therefore, a public policy subsidizing the activities of these organizations has an indirect effect on people’s preferences concerning the level of effort to devote to these organizations via its positive impact on the accumulation of social capital. The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents the basic model; Section 3 derives the general equilibrium of the economy in the absence of public policies; Section 4 examines the policies of both non-ideological and ideological policy makers; Section 5 concludes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Besides giving an original contribution to the modeling of a market economy with a non-profit sector, the paper focuses on two points that are relevant when the evolution of social norms and cultural values is influenced by economic outcomes and–at the same time–contributes to change those individual attitudes and propensities that are important determinants of economic outcomes. First, the paper formally addresses some implications of the self-reinforcing process that is generated when the evolution of social norms and cultural values is influenced in a society by economic outcomes which in their turn depend on the individual attitudes and propensities that are prevailing in that society. Indeed, the model presented here shows that two societies differing only because of their initial stock of social capital, i. e., only because of the people’s initial propensity to devote time and efforts to non-profit activities, may keep their differences in terms of preferences and volume of non-profit activities forever. This lack of convergence can be interpreted as the tendency of the cultural values and attitudes dominant in each society to perpetuate because of the economic behavior and the social processes that they contribute to elicit. Furthermore, it may not be possible to rank the different long-run equilibria toward which these two societies converge according to the Paretian criterion. This amounts to saying that the two steady-state equilibria are incommensurable, since any welfare judgement must refer to cultural values and preferences that are specific to each society. Second, the paper shows that public policies reflecting the society’s current preferences cannot but reinforce the tendency of the cultural values and attitudes dominant in each society to perpetuate, since these policies accommodate the spontaneous evolution that each society would have followed in the absence of public interventions. In contrast, the paper examines policies that are not optimal with respect to the society’s current preferences, since one of the policy maker’s objectives is to favor the emergence of cultural values and social attitudes which do not coincide with those that are currently dominant. Obviously, even an ideological policy maker cannot ignore the society’s current preference when it selects its policy: its objective function should be a compromise between the mere reflection of the current societal preferences and the willingness to promote the cultural values and social attitudes that it intends to favor. Further research is necessary for better understanding of the complex relationship linking the economic outcomes and the choice of public policies to the formation of individual preferences and the evolution of social norms.