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.

This full text of this article will be available on this page nine months after its initial print publication. To read it now, please buy this issue in print or downloadable eBook & PDF format, or in the Independent Review app on iOS or Android, or on Magzter which offers digital access on smartphones, tablets, and web browsers.
Stefanie Haeffele is Senior Fellow in the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Jessica Carges is a PhD student in economics at George Mason University.
EconomistsEconomyPhilosophy and Religion
Other Independent Review articles by Stefanie Haeffele
Summer 2019 Is Social Justice a Mirage?
Spring 2014 Grover Cleveland against the Special Interests