Culture: Persistence and evolution

Francesco Giavazzi, Ivan Petkov, Fabio Schiantarelli 16 June 2014

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Are a person’s values and beliefs persistent, or do they evolve – possibly rather quickly – in response to the economic and institutional environment? This is a central question, for instance, if one is interested in assessing the likelihood of success of reforms that change rules within a country. Are such reforms doomed because a country’s culture cannot be changed, or can they succeed because they can change cultural attitudes by altering incentives, and if so, over what time horizon?

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Institutions and economics Migration

Tags:  US, immigration, religion, values, Culture, attitudes, beliefs

New evidence on the durability of social norms

John Helliwell, Shun Wang, Jinwen Xu 12 March 2014

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Recent studies find that individuals’ social norms – as evidenced by their opinions and behaviour – can be transmitted from one generation to the next within the same cultural setting (Algan and Cahuc 2010, Bjørnskov 2012, Dohmen et al. 2012, Guiso et al. 2006, Rainer and Siedler 2009, Rice and Feldman 1997). Studies also find that the current environment – such as institutions – plays an important role in shaping an individual’s social norms (Dinesen 2012, Nannestad et al. 2014, Alesina and La Ferrara 2002, Bjørnskov 2007, Glaeser et al. 2000, Helliwell and Wang 2011, Kosfeld et al.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Migration

Tags:  institutions, immigration, social attitudes, trust, migration, Culture, social norms

National institutions and subnational development in Africa

Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou 11 October 2013

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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 (see Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson 2005 for a review and Acemoglu and Robinson 2012 for an influential popular argument).

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Topics:  Development Economic history Institutions and economics

Tags:  Africa, institutions, Culture, politics and economics

Long-term barriers to growth

Enrico Spolaore, Romain Wacziarg 03 October 2013

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Students of comparative development have turned their focus to factors rooted deeper and deeper in history.

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Topics:  Development Economic history

Tags:  development, growth, geography, Culture, technology transfer, ancestry

Understanding trust: The role of false consensus

Jeffrey V. Butler, Paola Giuliano, Luigi Guiso 18 December 2012

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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. In each case, individuals must form a belief about the reliability of a counterparty to decide whether to deal with this person at all.

How do individuals form beliefs about how others will behave in the absence of prior interaction? And do these initial beliefs persist in the face of evidence?

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research

Tags:  trust, Culture, false consensus

Does language shape our economy? Female/male grammatical distinctions and gender economics

Victor Gay, Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, Amir Shoham 29 August 2012

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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):

“We are inclined to think of language simply as a technique of expression, and not to realise that language first of all is a classification and arrangement of the stream of sensory experience which results in a certain world-order, a certain segment of the world that is easily expressible by the type of symbolic means that language employs.”

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Gender

Tags:  Culture, gender economics, language

Laws and norms

Jean Tirole, Roland Bénabou,

Date Published

Mon, 11/21/2011

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laws, social attitudes, values, psychology, Culture, norms

Selecting World Heritage sites: A new proposal

Lasse Steiner, Bruno S Frey 18 November 2011

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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. At present, the list comprises 936 sites – 725 of them cultural, 183 natural, and 28 mixed properties in 153 of the 186 State Parties who ratified the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Politics and economics

Tags:  Culture, UNESCO, world heritage

On the origins of gender roles: women and the plough

Alberto Alesina, Paola Giuliano, Nathan Nunn,

Date Published

Mon, 06/06/2011

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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

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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.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research Politics and economics

Tags:  Germany, Culture, Anti-Semitism

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