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Kinship, fractionalization and corruption

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  • Akbari, Mahsa
  • Bahrami-Rad, Duman
  • Kimbrough, Erik O.

Abstract

We examine the roots of variation in corruption across societies, and we argue that marriage practices and family structure are an important, overlooked determinant of corruption. By shaping patterns of relatedness and interaction, marriage practices influence the relative returns to norms of nepotism/favoritism versus norms of impartial cooperation. In-marriage (e.g. consanguineous marriage) generates fractionalization because it yields relatively closed groups of related individuals and thereby encourages favoritism and corruption. Out-marriage creates a relatively open society with increased interaction between non-relatives and strangers, thereby encouraging impartiality. We report a robust association between in-marriage practices and corruption both across countries and within countries. Instrumental variables estimates exploiting historical variation in preferred marriage practices and in exposure to the Catholic Church’s family policies provide evidence that the relationship could be causal.

Suggested Citation

  • Akbari, Mahsa & Bahrami-Rad, Duman & Kimbrough, Erik O., 2019. "Kinship, fractionalization and corruption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 493-528.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:166:y:2019:i:c:p:493-528
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.07.015
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacob Moscona & Nathan Nunn & James A. Robinson, 2020. "Segmentary Lineage Organization and Conflict in Sub‐Saharan Africa," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(5), pages 1999-2036, September.
    2. Ray, Tridip & Roy Chaudhuri, Arka & Sahai, Komal, 2020. "Whose education matters? An analysis of inter caste marriages in India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 619-633.
    3. Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2018. "Ancestral Characteristics of Modern Populations," Economic History of Developing Regions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 1-17, January.
    4. Nunn, Nathan & Qian, Nancy & Wen, Jaya, 2018. "Distrust and Political Turnover," CEPR Discussion Papers 12555, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Benjamin Enke, 2019. "Kinship, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Moral Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 134(2), pages 953-1019.
    6. Moscona, Jacob & Nunn, Nathan & Robinson, James A, 2018. "Social Structure and Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 13030, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Benjamin Enke, 2018. "Kinship Systems, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Culture," CESifo Working Paper Series 6867, CESifo.
    8. Akyol, Pelin & Mocan, Naci, 2020. "Education and Consanguineous Marriage," IZA Discussion Papers 13985, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Jonathan F. Schulz, 2016. "The Churches’ Bans on Consanguineous Marriages, Kin-networks and Democracy," Discussion Papers 2016-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    10. Ali, Merima & Fjeldstad, Odd‐Helge & Shifa, Abdulaziz B., 2020. "European colonization and the corruption of local elites: The case of chiefs in Africa," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 80-100.
    11. Bau, Natalie, 2019. "Can Policy Change Culture? Government Pension Plans and Traditional Kinship Practices," CEPR Discussion Papers 13486, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian & Jaya Wen, 2018. "Distrust and Political Turnover during Economic Crises," NBER Working Papers 24187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corruption; Fractionalization; Institutions; Mating patterns; Consanguinity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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