Chapter 9: Summary and Conclusion
This book has been concerned with the idea of culture as an integrative hermeneutic system that encompasses language, custom, norms, morals, laws, values and beliefs. It has emphasized the importance of understanding the way in which culture constitutes economic actors and deﬁnes the boundaries to the legitimate pursuit of self-regarding interests. An argument has been made throughout this book that a cultural perspective is relevant to a range of labour market issues, including the determination of wages, levels of inequality, productivity within the workplace and occupational choice. A cultural perspective has been identiﬁed as a vital component of any understanding of the way labour markets work, especially the dynamic aspects of the growth and survival of labour market institutions, such as those relating to wage differentials, wage inequality and minimum wage controls. These arguments about the importance of culture to the labour market were pursued at both a theoretical and empirical level. The theoretical analysis was concentrated in Chapters Two to Four of the book, beginning in Chapter Two with an exploration of the meaning of culture and the different categories of cultural effects on economic behaviour. Two key types of cultural effects were identiﬁed in Chapter Two. First, culture constitutes economic actors by providing them with a framework by which to attach value and signiﬁcance to different economic processes and outcomes. Thus, in contrast to the neoclassical assumption that individual preferences are exogenously determined and unchanging, a cultural perspective emphasizes that the preferences expressed by...
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