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The Intergenerational Behavioural Consequences of a Socio-Political Upheaval

Author

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  • Alison Booth
  • Xin Meng
  • Elliott Fan
  • Dandan Zhang

Abstract

Social scientists have long been interested in the effects of social-political upheavals on a society subsequently. A priori, we would expect that, when traumas are brought about by outsiders, within-group behaviour would become more collaborative, as society unites against the common foe. Conversely, we would expect the reverse when the conflict is generated within-group. In our paper we are looking at this second form of upheaval, and our measure of within-group conflict is the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution (CR) that seriously disrupted many aspects of Chinese society. In particular, we explore how individuals' behavioural preferences are affected by within-group traumatic events experienced by their parents or grandparents. Using data from a laboratory experiment in conjunction with survey data, we find that individuals with parents or grandparents affected by the CR are less trusting, less trustworthy, and less likely to choose to compete than their counterparts whose predecessors were not direct victims of the CR.

Suggested Citation

  • Alison Booth & Xin Meng & Elliott Fan & Dandan Zhang, 2019. "The Intergenerational Behavioural Consequences of a Socio-Political Upheaval," CEH Discussion Papers 02, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:074
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/CEH/WP201902.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Bai, Liang & Wu, Lingwei, 2020. "Political movement and trust formation: Evidence from the Cultural Revolution (1966–76)," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    2. Nikolova, Milena & Popova, Olga & Otrachshenko, Vladimir, 2019. "Stalin and the origins of mistrust," GLO Discussion Paper Series 344, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Minhee Chae & Tim Hatton & Xin Meng, 2021. "Explaining Trends in Adult Height in China: 1950 to 1990," CEH Discussion Papers 01, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preferences; Behavioural Economics; Cultural Revolution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation

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