Thursday, December 11, 2014


International Academic Conference
Economics of Vices and Virtues
May 15–16, 2015

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
Center for the Study of Economic Culture
St. Petersburg State University, Russia
The deadline for the submission of an abstract of about 500 words is January 10, 2015.
The conference organizers welcome proposals of sessions with a description. Please send abstracts and proposals  to
Authors will be informed about acceptance or rejection of the paper for presentation by February 2.

Organizing Committee:
Aleksei Kudrin, St. Petersburg State University
Danila Raskov, St. Petersburg State University
Eline Poelmans, Leuven University and Beeronomics
Deirdre McCloskey, University of Illinois at Chicago
Denis Kadochnikov, St. Petersburg State University
Alexander Pogrebnyak, St. Petersburg State University
Viktor Rjazanov, St. Petersburg State University
Alexander Nemtzov, Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry
Vladimir Ignatiev, Novosibirsk State Technical University
Alexander Skorobogatov, Higher School of Economics


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