Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 582:
Punctuality - A Cultural Trait as Equilibrium

Kaushik Basu and Jörgen W. Weibull ()

Abstract: A people's culture, norms and habits are important determinants not just of the quality of social life but of economic progress and growth. In this paper we take the view that while the importance of culture is undeniable, the innateness of culture is not. We work here with a single example and demonstrate how a human trait which is widely believed to be cultural is at the same time a matter of choice. The example that we shall work with concerns punctuality. We show that punctuality may be simply an equilibrium response of individuals to what they expect others to do. The same society can get caught in a punctual equilibrium or a non-punctual equilibrium. 

Keywords: Punctuality; Coordination Games; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C62; C72; D29; D71; (follow links to similar papers)

18 pages, June 10, 2002

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This paper is published as:
Basu, Kaushik and Jörgen W. Weibull, (2003), Punctuality - A Cultural Trait as an Equilibrium, in R. Arnott et al. (eds.), Economics for an Imperfect World: Essays in Honor of Joseph Stiglitz, MIT Press, Cambridge USA.

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