Culture and the Labour Market

Culture and the Labour Market

Siobhan Austen

Culture and the Labour Market attempts to define the meaning of culture and the nature of its possible consequences on economic processes and outcomes. In particular, the book examines alternative theoretical and empirical approaches to the economic analysis of cultural effects in the labour market. Using extensive new data from fourteen countries, the author finds tangible evidence of substantial cross-cultural differences in beliefs about wage inequality.

Preface

Siobhan Austen

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics

Extract

Culture is an integrative hermeneutic system that encompasses language, custom, norms, morals, laws, values and beliefs. Culture constitutes economic actors and defines the boundaries to the legitimate pursuit of self-regarding interests. The economic analysis of the early institutionalists, such as Veblen and Commons, emphasized the importance of culture in determining the economic behaviour of individuals. However, the dominance of the neoclassical model in economics in the last century has meant that these links between the cultural and economic environments have not been given the attention they deserve. This book aims to address the gap in the economic literature that exists on the relationship between culture and the labour market. It attempts to define, from an economic perspective, the meaning of culture and the nature of its possible effects on economic processes and outcomes. It also examines possible approaches to the economic analysis of cultural effects, at both a theoretical and empirical level. Several studies of these cultural effects are conducted. The work is organized into two main parts. The first part (comprising Chapters Two to Four) is largely concerned with the theoretical issues associated with an economic analysis of culture. These chapters serve to highlight the complex nature of cultural studies as well as the theoretical controversies associated with the argument that culture is an important and independent source of economic behaviour. The material in these chapters also provides the framework for subsequent empirical analysis. The second part of the book (comprising Chapters Five to Eight) provides a...