Many economists now accept that informal institutions and culture play a crucial role in economic outcomes. Driven by the work of economists like Nobel laureates Douglass North and Gary Becker, there is an important body of work that invokes cultural and institutional factors to build a more comprehensive and realistic theory of economic behavior. This book provides a comprehensive overview of research in this area, sketching the main premises and challenges faced by the field. The first part introduces and explains the various theoretical approaches to studying culture in economics, going back to Smith and Weber, and addresses the methodological issues that need to be considered when including culture in economics. The second part of the book then provides readers with a series of examples that show how the cultural approach can be used to explain economic phenomena in four different areas: entrepreneurship, trust, international business and comparative corporate governance.
Sjoerd Beugelsdijk is Professor of International Business and Management at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His PhD (Tilburg University, 2003) concerned the relationship between culture and economic development in European regions. He has published extensively on the relation between culture and economic behavior of firms and individuals, and the relation between culture and national economic development. In 2007 he obtained a prestigious three year research grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Robbert Maseland is Assistant Professor of International Economics and Business at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. His PhD (Radboud University Nijmegen, 2006) analyzed the emergence and impact of the Asian Values thesis. In addition, he has published on topics such as the measurement of values, development models, and fairness in trade. In 2008 he obtained a stipend from the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, enabling him to work as researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG) and the Institute for Labour Studies (IZA) in Bonn.
List of figures; List of tables; List of textboxes; Prologue; Part I. Historical and Methodological Reflections on Culture in Economics: 1. Defining culture; 2. How culture disappeared from economics; 3. Explaining the rise of culture in modern economics; 4. Culture in economics: contemporary theoretical perspectives; 5. A methodological perspective on culture in economics; Part II. Applications of Culture in Contemporary Economics: Introduction to Part II; 6. Entrepreneurial culture; 7. Trust; 8. International business; 9. Comparative corporate governance; Part III. Evaluation: 10. Discussion; References; Index.
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