Few issues have received more inquiry in the social sciences than "what are the fundamental determinants of comparative development?" The institutional view asserts that the ultimate causes of underdevelopment are poorly performing institutional structures, such as lack of constraints on the executive, poor property-rights protection, as well as inefficient legal and court systems (s
National institutions and subnational development in Africa
Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou, 11 October 2013
Long-term barriers to growth
Enrico Spolaore, Romain Wacziarg, 3 October 2013
Students of comparative development have turned their focus to factors rooted deeper and deeper in history.
Understanding trust: The role of false consensus
Jeffrey V. Butler, Paola Giuliano, Luigi Guiso, 18 December 2012
Every day millions of people deal with others they know nothing or very little about. A Norwegian tourist buys a carpet in Casablanca. A woman in Mexico City hails a cab on the street. A person with a never-before-experienced eye pain asks an ophthalmologist for advice.
Does language shape our economy? Female/male grammatical distinctions and gender economics
Victor Gay, Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, Amir Shoham, 29 August 2012
In his Nobel Prize lecture, Douglas North (1993) argued that cultural knowledge is transmitted via language. Yet, language may be more than a vehicle of transmission, as the linguist Benjamin L Whorf hypothesised (1956):
Laws and norms
Jean Tirole, Roland Bénabou, 21 November 2011
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Selecting World Heritage sites: A new proposal
Lasse Steiner, Bruno S Frey, 18 November 2011
The UNESCO World Heritage sites have become major attractions for cultural tourism and are icons of national identity. Being put on the UNESCO World Heritage List comes with considerable media coverage – and naturally governments invest substantial time and effort in order to gain an entry.
On the origins of gender roles: women and the plough
Alberto Alesina, Paola Giuliano, Nathan Nunn, 6 June 2011
The geography of hate: How anti-Semitism in interwar Germany was influenced by the medieval mass murder of Jews
Nico Voigtländer, Hans-Joachim Voth, 22 May 2011
What causes some people to engage in hate crime, while others remain aloof? Scholars have examined the role of ignorance and political incentives in the formation of groups dominated by hatred (Glaeser 2005). What has remained underexplored is the extent to which cultural transmission predisposes people to act violently, in a fashion similar to that of their ancestors.
Divide and rule or the rule of the divided? The effect of national and ethnic institutions on African under-development
Elias Papaioannou, Stelios Michalopoulos, 15 November 2010
The conventional wisdom on the deep determinants of African development places colonisation at the centre of any explanation. An influential body of research suggests that the extractive colonial institutions that Europeans established in the late 19th century, crucially contributed to African underdevelopment.
Does culture affect long-run growth?
Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Gérard Roland, 21 September 2010
The idea that culture is a central ingredient of economic development goes back to at least Max Weber who, in his classical work “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” (Weber 1905), argued that the protestant ethic of Calvinism was a very powerful force behind the development of capitalism in its early phases.
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