Fighting polarization with (parental) internalization

Moti Michaeli, Jiabin Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growing polarization has been a rising concern in recent years all around the world. How can governments effectively fight it? In a dynamic model of inter-generational cultural transmission we show that polarization could be driven by the attempt of parents to instill extreme values in their children in anticipation of the pressure to conform that will be imposed on the children by their peers. However, this extremist tendency is mitigated if parents put a sufficiently large weight on their children's disutility from peer pressure and try to reduce it – rather than counterbalance it – by instilling in the children conformist rather than extreme values. Increasing awareness of parents to this peer pressure could therefore be a governmental tool for fighting polarization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-138
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Inter-generational cultural transmission
  • Norm change
  • Peer pressure
  • Polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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