April 1, 2011

Rituals

An Economic Interpretation
  • Christopher Coyne

    Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Rachel Mathers

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This paper provides a rational choice analysis of rituals, defined as predictable and regular observances of acts or procedures, which have a symbolic element resulting in the inculcation or reinforcement of shared values and beliefs. The purpose is threefold. First, to make clear why rituals matter for economic and social outcomes. Second, to engage in interdisciplinary exchange by demonstrating how economics can be blended with insights from other social sciences. Third, to gain insight into why rituals exist and persist, as well as the process through which rituals change.

Read the article at ScienceDirect.