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Social Attitudes and Macroeconomic Performance:

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  • Pierre Cahuc

    (CREST)

  • Yann Algan

    (Paris school of economics)

Abstract

In this paper we develop a new empirical approach to uncover the causal link from social attitudes to economic development. We first show that social attitudes of second-generation Americans are significantly influenced by the country of origin of their forebears. In the spirit of the epidemiology literature, we interpret this phenomenon as the consequence of a causal effect of inherited social attitudes. This leads us to use the social attitudes of second-generation Americans as an instrument for the social attitudes in the home country of their parents to identify the causal effect of inherited social attitudes on economic development. This strategy allows us to isolate the specific contribution of social attitudes relatively to other traditional candidates, such as invariant institutions or geography, by controlling for country fixed effects. We find that inherited social attitudes had a strong specific causal impact on per capita output and other measures of macroeconomic performance on a sample of 30 countries over the period 1949-2003.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2007 Meeting Papers with number 414.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:414

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  1. Hauk, Esther & Sáez-Martí, María, 2001. "On the Cultural Transmission of Corruption," Working Paper Series 564, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
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  9. Benabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," Papers 08-15-2005a, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
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  11. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
  12. Francois, P. & Zabojnik, J., 2003. "Trust, Social Capital and Economic Development," Discussion Paper 2003-116, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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