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Parasitical cultures? The cultural origins of institutions and development

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  • Robbert Maseland

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Abstract

Do cultural attitudes affect institutions and economic performance? This paper suggests they do. To measure the impact of cultural attitudes we use prevalence rates of the common parasite Toxoplasma gondii which is known to affect individual attitudes and societal values in predictable ways. By using prevalence rates of Toxoplasma as instrument for cultural variation, we are able to isolate the effects of cultural attitudes on institutions, distinguishing them from effects of institutions and economic outcomes on culture. We find that our indicators of cultural attitudes are significant determinants of institutional quality, and strong predictors of long-run economic performance. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Robbert Maseland, 2013. "Parasitical cultures? The cultural origins of institutions and development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 109-136, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:18:y:2013:i:2:p:109-136
    DOI: 10.1007/s10887-013-9089-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2010. "Inherited Trust and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2060-2092, December.
    2. Gylfason, Haukur Freyr & Olafsdottir, Katrin, 2017. "Does Gneezy's cheap talk game measure trust?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 143-148.
    3. repec:spr:soinre:v:138:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-017-1684-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Nieminen, Mika, 2015. "Trade imbalances within the euro area and with respect to the rest of the world," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 306-314.
    5. Dilli, Selin & Elert, Niklas, 2016. "The Diversity of Entrepreneurial Regimes in Europe," Working Paper Series 1118, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:3:p:664-677 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:18:y:2018:i:1:p:187-211. is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic development; Institutions; Culture; Pathogens; O43; Z10; N4;

    JEL classification:

    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation

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