Viviana Zelizer: Relational Exchange and Association

Originally published in The Independent Review

Viviana Zelizer, an underappreciated pioneer of economic sociology, provides context and explanation to patterns of real-world activity that otherwise may seem to defy economic theory. Over time, life insurance has become an acceptable and even obligatory purchase, children have gone from productive inputs to priceless investments, and special monies permeate our personal accounting. Zelizer’s accounts explain how social, moral, and cultural shifts led to these and other economic phenomena.

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