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Identity and Mobility: Historical Fractionalization, Parochial Institutions, and Occupational Choice in the American Midwest

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Abstract

This paper examines the role played by a specific identity, defined as the attachment to a hometown, in determining occupational choice and mobility. The analysis links competition between ethnic networks in the Midwest when it was first developing, and the in-group identity that emerged endogenously to support these networks, to institutional participation and occupational choice today. Individuals born in counties with greater ethnic fractionalization in 1860 are today -- 150 years later --(i) significantly more likely to participate in institutions such as churches and parochial schools that transmit identity from one generation to the next, and (ii) significantly less likely to select into mobile skilled occupations. The effect of historical fractionalization on participation in these socializing institutions actually grows stronger over the course of the twentieth century, emphasizing the idea that small differences in initial conditions can have large long-term effects on institutions and economic choices.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Center for Development Economics with number 2011-02.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wil:wilcde:2011-02

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Keywords: Identity; Institutional persistence; Networks; Occupational choice; Mobil- ity;

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  1. Coakley, Jerry & Kulasi, Farida & Smith, Ron, 1998. "The Feldstein-Horioka Puzzle and Capital Mobility: A Review," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 3(2), pages 169-88, April.
  2. Hamid Faruqee & Aasim M. Husain, 1995. "Saving Trends in Southeast Asia," IMF Working Papers 95/39, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1992. "Saving, Growth and Liquidity Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Orazio P. Attanasio & Lucio Picci & Antonello E. Scorcu, 2000. "Saving, Growth, and Investment: A Macroeconomic Analysis Using a Panel of Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 182-211, May.
  5. Oriana Bandiera & Gerard Caprio Jr. & Patrick Honohan & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1998. "Does Financial Reform Raise or Reduce Savings?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 413, Boston College Department of Economics.
  6. Ghura, Dhaneshwar & Grennes, Thomas J., 1993. "The real exchange rate and macroeconomic performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 155-174, October.
  7. Sebastian Edwards, 1995. "Why are Saving Rates so Different Across Countries?: An International Comparative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert A. Blecker & Arslan Razmi, 2009. "Export-led growth, real exchange rates and the fallacy of composition," Working Papers 2009-22, American University, Department of Economics.
  2. Smith, Constance E., 2011. "External balance adjustment: An intra-national and international comparison," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1195-1213, October.
  3. Marcus Kappler & Helmut Reisen & Moritz Schularick & Edouard Turkisch, 2011. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Large Exchange Rate Appreciations," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 296, OECD Publishing.
  4. Luigi Bonatti & Andrea Fracasso, 2009. "The evolution of the Sino-American Co-dependency: modelling a regime switch in a growth setting," Department of Economics Working Papers 0905, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  5. Lin, Justin Yifu & Monga, Celestin, 2010. "The growth report and new structural economics," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5336, The World Bank.
  6. World Bank, 2011. "Turkey - Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) : Sustaining High Growth - The Role of Domestic savings : Synthesis Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12264, The World Bank.

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