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Institutional Economics and the Formation of Preferences

The Advent of Pop Music Wilfred Dolfsma, Professor of Business Management & Organization, Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands
The formation of preferences is an elusive subject that many social scientists, and especially economists, have tended to avoid. In this original new book, Wilfred Dolfsma combines institutional economics with insights from the other social sciences to analyse the way in which preferences are formed in a social context.
Awarded the Gunnar Myrdal Prize for 2006 by the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy
Extent: 176 pp
Hardback Price: $127.00 Web: $114.30
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 233 1
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Evolutionary Economics
  • Institutional Economics
The formation of preferences is an elusive subject that many social scientists, and especially economists, have tended to avoid. In this original new book, Wilfred Dolfsma combines institutional economics with insights from the other social sciences to analyse the way in which preferences are formed in a social context.

The author demonstrates how preferences for specific goods, and symbolic goods in particular, are mediated through the institutional settings that both individuals and groups find themselves in. He develops a Social Value Nexus, which indicates how institutions relate to the socio-cultural values of a society. He goes on to argue that tensions at the institutional or socio-cultural level will alter the institutional setting and therefore affect preferences. The sudden and radical change in consumption patterns for music in the late 1950s and early 1960s provides convincing evidence of the author’s claim. By focusing on an event with great societal significance and using unique empirical material, he skilfully elucidates the theoretical arguments made in the book.

This study offers both a novel explanation of the formation of preferences and a significant elaboration of the economic theory of institutional change. It will engage and enlighten scholars and students of the social sciences, especially those with an interest in consumption, institutional economics, cultural studies and sociology.
‘Institutional Economics and the Formation of Preferences is an important contribution to cultural economics, thought provoking for anyone interested in any of the cultural industries.’
– Simon Frith, Journal of Cultural Economics

‘Wilfred Dolfsma has provided us with an important and pioneering investigation of the social construction of pop music as a symbolic good, drawing on institutional and social economic thinking regarding how socio-cultural values underlie the value/price system for music goods. A necessary resource for all those seeking to understand symbolic goods and the identities they help create.’
– John B. Davis, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Marquette University, US
Contents: Preface 1. The Amazing Advent of Pop Music 2. How Not to Explain the Advent of Pop Music 3. Consuming Symbolic Goods 4. Radio and Magazines: Valuing Pop Music Through Institutional Changes 5. Consuming Pop Music / Constructing a Life World 6. The Social Construction of Value 7. Conclusion: Forming Preferences, Valuing Pop Music References Index