Working Paper No. 582

Punctuality - A Cultural Trait as Equilibrium

Published: June 10, 2002Pages: 18Keywords: Punctuality; Coordination GamesJEL-codes: C62; C72; D29; D71

Punctuality - A Cultural Trait as Equilibrium Kaushik Basu and Jorgen W. Weibull


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.

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Martin Ljunge, IFN, is the author of a chapter, "Trust promotes health: addressing reverse causality by studying children of immigrants", in a new book edited by Sherman Folland and Eric Nauenberg. The cutting edge of research is presented, covering the ever-expanding social capital field.

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