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Accounting for Tastes / Edition 1

Accounting for Tastes / Edition 1

by Gary S. Becker


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Economists generally accept as a given the old adage that there's no accounting for tastes. Nobel Laureate Gary Becker disagrees, and in this lively new collection he confronts the problem of preferences and values: how they are formed and how they affect our behavior. He argues that past experiences and social influences form two basic capital stocks: personal and social. He then applies these concepts to assessing the effects of advertising, the power of peer pressure, the nature of addiction, and the function of habits. This framework promises to illuminate many other realms of social life previously considered off-limits by economists.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674543577
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/30/1998
Edition description: REPRINT
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 5.94(w) x 8.94(h) x (d)

About the Author

Gary S. Becker was University Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Chicago. In 1992, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Table of Contents

    Part I: Personal Capital
  1. 1. Preferences and Values
  2. De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
  3. A Theory of Rational Addiction
  4. Rational Addiction and the Effect of Price on Consumption
  5. An Empirical Analysis of Cigarette Addiction
  6. Habits, Addictions, and Traditions

  7. Part 2: Social Capital
  8. The Economic Way of Looking at Life
  9. A Theory of Social Interactions
  10. A Note on Restaurant Pricing and Other Examples of Social Influences on Price
  11. A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad
  12. Norms and the Formation of Preferences
  13. Spouses and Beggars: Love and Sympathy

  • Acknowledgments
  • References
  • Index

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