Although economic reasoning has infiltrated many fields in the social sciences, those who study value conflicts have resisted rational choice approaches to the subject. Instead, most contend that political conflict over cultural values is best explained by group loyalties, symbolic motives and other "nonrational" factors. In this book, Dennis Chong shows that a single model can explain how people make decisions across both social and economic realms. He argues that preferences result from a combination of psychological dispositions, which are shaped by social influences and developed over the life span, as well as costs and benefits calculated according to our desire for material gain and social acceptance. Chong's book yields insights about the circumstances under which preferences, beliefs, values, norms and group identifications are formed. Most significantly, it offers an explanation of how ingrained social norms and values can change over time in spite of the myriad forces working to maintain the status quo.