Ash Social Self Interest

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Hannan (1994) The Impact of Economics on Contemporary Sociology, Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 32, pp. 1111-1146. S. 1063-1091. S. 12. Y. Ben-Porath (1980) The F-Connection: Families, Friends and Firms and the Organization of Exchange, Population and Development Review, Vol. 6, pp. 1-30. L. Berger and T. Luckman (1966) The Social Construction of Reality, New York: Anchor Books. C. Bergstrom (1996) Economics in a Family Way, Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 34, pp. 1903-1934. D. Bernheim (1994) A Theory of Conformity, Journal of Political Economy, Vol.

Local currency schemes can strengthen the cohesion of communities by promoting more frequent, often face-to-face contact. Tenancy agreements for social housing might include a compact declaring respect for others’ property and lifestyle, and for the local environment and open spaces. From our perspective, creating ‘neighbourly customs’ provides a context enabling primary relationships to develop. And there is an implied willingness to pay for this. Just such a scheme has been proposed by Young and Lemos (1997), and recently implemented by a UK housing association, apparently with some initial success (see The Guardian: Society, October 28th 1998, pp 6-7).

Each follows a reaction function, showing his or her optimal decision as a function of others’ choice. Cournot-Nash equilibrium norms satisfy these reaction functions simultaneously; they are the solution to a process of sequential reactions to actual consumption choices. This is exactly the model used by Jones (1984) to explain workplace conformity. Many further applications are suggested by the theory of relational choice: to fads, fashions, crowd and herd behaviour. Economic theory often gives the disarmingly naïve impression that market segmentation is a simple matter of passively exploiting existing geographic or demographic segments with an appropriate discriminatory pricing policy.

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