Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 582: Punctuality - A Cultural Trait as Equilibrium

Kaushik Basu and Jörgen W. Weibull ()
Additional contact information
Kaushik Basu: Department of Economics, Postal: Cornell University
Jörgen W. Weibull: The Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

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

JEL-codes: C62; C72; D29; D71

18 pages, June 10, 2002

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