Cultural norms, Veblen effect and malnutrition5 min read . Updated: 09 Jan 2016, 11:29 PM IST
Cultural norms and conspicuous consumption may be partly responsible for India's malnutrition problem
In his book Accounting for Tastes, Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker wrote that “differences in cultures causes considerable differences in preferences over goods, as with the taboo against eating pork among religious Jews and Moslems, or the tradition of filial obedience in Chinese and some other cultures. The economists’ traditional assumption of ‘given’ and stable preferences over goods seems to be much more consistent with the influence of culture on preferences than with the influence of personal capital or other kinds of social capital". Becker was suggesting that culture has important implications in shaping an individual’s preferences.