DP11132 Bread and Bullet

Author(s): George Akerlof, Dennis J. Snower
Publication Date: February 2016
Keyword(s): attention, identity, motivation, Narrative, prediction, social assignment
JEL(s): A12, A13, A14, D03, D04, D20, D23, D30, D62, D71, D72, D74
Programme Areas: Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11132

Standard economics omits the role of narratives (the stories that people tell themselves and others) when they make all kinds of decisions. Narratives play a role in understanding the environment; focusing attention; predicting events; motivating action; assigning social roles and identities; defining power relations; and establishing and conveying social norms. This paper describes the role narratives play in decision making, as it also juxtaposes this description against the backdrop of the Bolshevik-spawned narrative that played a critical role in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union in the 20th Century.