Cultural economics is the branch of economics that studies the relation of culture to economic outcomes. Here, 'culture' is defined by shared beliefs and preferences of respective groups. Programmatic issues include whether and how much culture matters as to economic outcomes and what its relation is to institutions. As a growing field in behavioral economics, the role of culture in economic behavior is increasingly being demonstrated to cause significant differentials in decision-making and the management and valuation of assets.
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Applications include the study of religion, social capital, social norms, social identity, fertility, beliefs in redistributive justice, ideology, hatred, terrorism, trust, family ties, long-term orientation, and the culture of economics. A general analytical theme is how ideas and behaviors are spread among individuals through the formation of social capital, social networks and processes such as social learning, as in the theory of social evolution and information cascades. Methods include case studies and theoretical and empirical modeling of cultural transmission within and across social groups. In 2013 Said E. Dawlabani added the value systems approach to the cultural emergence aspect of macroeconomics.