An Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks

An Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks

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Why are people loyal? How do groups form and how do they create incentives for their members to abide by group norms? Until now, economics has only been able to partially answer these questions. In this groundbreaking work, Paul Frijters presents a new unified theory of human behaviour. To do so, he incorporates comprehensive yet tractable definitions of love and power, and the dynamics of groups and networks, into the traditional mainstream economic view. The result is an enhanced view of human societies that nevertheless retains the pursuit of self-interest at its core. This book provides a digestible but comprehensive theory of our socioeconomic system, which condenses its immense complexity into simplified representations. The result both illuminates humanity's history and suggests ways forward for policies today, in areas as diverse as poverty reduction and tax compliance.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 444 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 26mm | 719.99g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9 b/w illus.
  • 1107678943
  • 9781107678941
  • 146,236

Review quote

'What I particularly like about this book is the serious and fruitful extension of the homo oeconomicus by including love and loyalty. An attentive reader will greatly benefit from this easy-to-read book.' Bruno S. Frey, Distinguished Professor of Behavioural Science, Warwick Business School 'Mainstream neo-classical economics offers powerful insights into many complex and puzzling patterns of human behavior. Yet these insights go only so far, as many - perhaps, most - behavior patterns fail in untold ways to conform to the simple stimulus-response insights offered by this discipline. Frijters (with Foster) has fundamentally extended this economic paradigm. They have waded into a variety of other human motivations (featured in other disciplines), and selected those patterns that best complement the insights of conventional economics. Concepts of love, friendship, loyalty, power, coalitions, ideals, joy and compassion are all explored, and are used to temper, leaven and expand the insights of self-interested maximization. This is a formidable task, and their efforts are reflected in the breadth and depths of the insights that they offer on issues such as trade policy, environmental regulation, tax compliance, and income redistribution.' Robert Haveman, University of Wisconsin, Madison 'This is the most remarkable book I have read in the last decade. It argues that your life, and society, is shaped by a giant version of the Stockholm Syndrome. If you have no idea what that sentence could mean, and you like a book that is intellectually taxing but unforgettable, this is for you.' Andrew Oswald, University of Warwick, and Visiting Fellow and Acting Research Director, IZA Institute, Bonn 'In the grand tradition of Gary Becker, Paul Frijters offers a unified theory of human behavior ...This impressive book seems to explore every nook and cranny of human behavior, and beautifully articulate[s] economic matters on every page.' Jeffrey G. Williamson, Laird Bell Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University, and Honorary Fellow in Economics, University of Wisconsin
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Table of contents

Part I. Greed and Love: 1. Individual materialism, organizations, and power; 2. Love: the missing building block; Part II. Groups, Power and the Development of Institutions: 3. Groups and power; 4. Networks and markets; Part III. Implications and Examples: 5. The aggregate view; 6. Theoretical appendix.
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About Paul Frijters

Professor Paul Frijters is a Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland. He was elected 'Best Economist under 40 in Australia' by the Economic Society of Australia for 2009-11, and his work consistently ranks in the top 4% of downloaded and cited economic research in the world. Professor Frijters has undertaken research in a wide variety of fields, including happiness and well-being, migration in China, behavioural economics and health economics. The findings of his research feature regularly in the global media. Dr Gigi Foster is a senior lecturer in the School of Economics within the Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales. Her research focuses primarily on decisions related to human capital, with a particular emphasis on social influence and behavioural economics.
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