The Gift in the Economy and Society
Perspectives from Institutional Economics and Other Social Sciences
Mainstream economics offers a perspective on the gift which is constructed around exchange, axioms of self-interest, instrumental rationality and utility-maximisation – concepts that predominate within conventional forms of economic analysis. Recognising the gift as an example of social practice underpinned by social institutions, this book moves beyond this utilitarian approach to explore perspectives on the gift from social and institutional economics.
Through contributions from an international and interdisciplinary cast of authors, the chapters explore key questions such as: what is the relationship between social institutions, on the one hand, and gift, exchange, reciprocity on the other? What are the social mechanisms that underpin gift and gift-giving actions? And finally, what is the relationship between individuals, societies, gift-giving and cooperation? The answers to these questions and others serve to highlight the importance of the analysis of gift in economics and other social sciences. The book also demonstrates the potential of the analysis of the gift to contribute to solving current problems for humanity at various levels of social aggregation.
This key text makes a significant contribution to the literature on the gift which will be of interest to readers of heterodox economics, social anthropology, philosophy of economics, sociology and political philosophy.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction Part I – Theoretical approaches 2. Institutional Orders and the Gift: A Macrosociological Approach 3. Beneficence, reciprocity and institutions in Smith 4. The gift as total social fact: From Mauss to money Part II - Applied, empirical or experimental case studies 5. Lab Scientists’ Innovativeness: A Case Study of Networks and Favour Exchange 6. Gift as conspicuous consumption: the case of the Odyssey 7. The fluid nature of gifts and grants: an institutional application to the Marshall Plan 8. An Institutional Analysis of the Dowry System in South Asia 9. In search of relevant financial regulation: some lessons from the gift-economics 10. Principles of exchange and reciprocity in the context of providing care 11. Afterword: The puzzle of the gift
Stefan Kesting is a Senior Teaching Fellow at Leeds University Business School, UK.
Ioana Negru is a Reader in Economics at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania.
Paolo Silvestri is Contract Professor at University of Turin, Italy; Bocconi University, Italy; and Lumière University, Lyon 2, France.