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Economics of Vices and Virtues

International conference "Economics of Vices and Virtues".

Organizing Committee:

  • Aleksei Kudrin (SPbSU)
  • Danila Raskov (SPbSU)
  • Eline Poelmans (Catholic University Leuven, Beeronomics Society)
  • Deirdre McCloskey (University of Illinois at Chicago)
  • Denis Kadochnikov (SPbSU)
  • Alexander Pogrebnyak (SPbSU)
  • Viktor Rjazanov (SPbSU)
  • Alexander Nemtzov (Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry)
  • Vladimir Ignatiev (Novosibirsk State Technical University)
  • Alexander Skorobogatov (Higher School of Economics)

While accepting the assumption about the rationality of economic agents as a starting point of analysis, economists still cannot afford to ignore that rational choice in any case is made within a framework of specific beliefs, values and behavioral patterns. Some of these behavioral patterns are traditionally considered to represent virtues, and some – passions and vices, and in different cultures and subcultures the interpretation may vary. Is this kind of assessment relevant for economic science and economic policy? In order to understand this, we propose to discuss (from the point of view of economics and culture) such phenomena as addictions and habits in consumption of certain products, the specifics of policy – making in such cases, problems of interpretation of consumer addictions and habits in culture and social science, as well as the problem of prohibitions. This topic is supposed to come back to the discussion of the provocative thesis of Bernard de Mandeville in his "The Fable of the Bees" (1714) that the private vices tend to form the public benefit.

The Conference topics will include:

  • Virtues and Vices: criteria and interpretations;
  • Economy and culture of production and consumption of alcohol (beer, wine and strong spirits);
  • Economics on Virtues and Vices;
  • Formation of attachments and addictions, as a business strategy;
  • Overcoming attachments and addictions, as a state policy target;
  • Economics of prohibitions, Temperance movements and Public Policy;
  • Economy and culture of smoking / of gambling / of Internet addiction;
  • "Green lifestyle" – the Virtues or Vices?

The specific issues to be discussed will be the examination of the different aspects of the economics, historical facts and culture of alcohol production, consumption and regulation. We invite economists, sociologists, anthropologists, historians and the scholars from other spheres in the social sciences and humanities for the dialogue.

Conference languages: English and Russian

The deadline for the submission of an abstract of about 500 words is January 20, 2015.

The conference organizers welcome proposals of sessions with a description. Please send abstracts and proposals to csec@smolny.org

Authors will be informed about acceptance or rejection of the paper for presentation by February 5.