The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Cultural Transmission

  • Alberto Bisin
  • Thierry Verdier
Reference work entry


The economic literature analyses cultural transmission as the result of interactions between purposeful socialization decisions inside the family (‘direct vertical socialization’) and indirect socialization processes like social imitation and learning (‘oblique and horizontal socialization’). This article reviews the main contribution of these models from theoretical and empirical perspectives. It presents the implications regarding the long-run population dynamics of cultural traits, and discusses the links with other approaches to cultural evolution in the social sciences as well as in evolutionary biology. Applications to economic problems are also briefly surveyed.


Altruism Cooperation Cultural transmission Evolutionary biology Evolutionary economics Genetic evolution Identity Imperfect empathy Inter-generational altruism Nature–nurture debate Religion, economics of Social interaction Social norms Socialization 

JEL Classifications

I2 Z1 D9 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Bisin
    • 1
  • Thierry Verdier
    • 1
  1. 1.