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Family Ties

In: Handbook of Economic Growth

Author

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  • Alesina, Alberto
  • Giuliano, Paola

Abstract

We study the role of the most primitive institution in society: the family. Its organization and relationship between generations shape values formation, economic outcomes, and influences national institutions. We use a measure of family ties, constructed from the World Values Survey, to review and extend the literature on the effect of family ties on economic behavior and economic attitudes. We show that strong family ties are negatively correlated with generalized trust; they imply more household production and less participation in the labor market of women, young adult, and elderly. They are correlated with lower interest and participation in political activities and prefer labor market regulation and welfare systems based upon the family rather than the market or the government. Strong family ties may interfere with activities leading to faster growth, but they may provide relief from stress, support to family members, and increased well-being. We argue that the values regarding the strength of family relationships are very persistent over time, more so than institutions like labor market regulation or welfare systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2014. "Family Ties," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 177-215, Elsevier.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:grochp:2-177
    DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-444-53538-2.00004-6
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Family values; Cultural economics; Labor market regulations; Growth; Institutions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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