In this CSES Lecture Series Paul Ingram, Columbia Business School, considers the influences on entering into ‘dirty business’ or economic activity that violates cultural values. He considers individual disposition to violate norms as a function of status, social contagion in a network, where status determines influence, and the role of a social movement to ignite attention to the norms and their violation. Paul analyzes who entered the Liverpool slave trade. He finds that high status Gentlemen were more likely to do so, and that they were highly influential on the behavior of their network partners. The abolition movement affected an increase in the magnitude of social influence, and shifted the balance of influence in favor of non-slavers.
“Economic action is ‘social’ insofar as its subjective meaning takes account of the behavior of others and is thereby oriented in its course.”— Max Weber