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Universalism vs. particularism: a round trip from sociology to economics

Author

Listed:
  • Guido de Blasio

    () (Banca d'Italia)

  • Diego Scalise

    () (Banca d'Italia)

  • Paolo Sestito

    () (Banca d'Italia)

Abstract

Social scientists, in particular sociologists, claim that the distinction between universalistic and particularistic values is relevant to explaining the social behaviour of individuals (and societies). This paper provides preliminary empirical evidence that supports the claim. It first defines a number of proxies for the degree of particularism embedded into long-celebrated dimensions of social behaviour (trust, political awareness, and associational activities). Then, it shows that the particularistic measures are positively correlated to each other and negatively correlated to some established generalist measures for all dimensions of social behaviour considered, both across and within countries and regions. Moreover, the paper relates that the various proxies for particularism share the same set of covariates (such as low education and income), which are neatly distinguishable from the determinants of the generalist measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Guido de Blasio & Diego Scalise & Paolo Sestito, 2014. "Universalism vs. particularism: a round trip from sociology to economics," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 212, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_212_14
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    File URL: http://www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/qef/2014-0212/QEF_212.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Pier Luigi Sacco & Paolo Vanin, 2000. "Network Interaction with Material and Relational Goods: An Exploratory Simulation," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 229-259, June.
    5. Nancy Buchan & Rachel Croson, 1999. "Gender and Culture: International Experimental Evidence from Trust Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 386-391, May.
    6. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    7. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2010. "The power of the family," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 93-125, June.
    8. Giuseppe Albanese & Guido de Blasio & Paolo Sestito, 2013. "Trust and preferences: evidence from survey data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 911, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    10. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:30752839 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rotondi, Valentina & Stanca, Luca, 2015. "The effect of particularism on corruption: Theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 219-235.
    2. Marco Paccagnella & Paolo Sestito, 2014. "School cheating and social capital," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 367-388, August.
    3. Dalmazzo, Alberto & Pin, Paolo & Scalise, Diego, 2014. "Communities and social inefficiency with heterogeneous groups," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 410-427.
    4. Stacchini, Massimiliano & Degasperi, Petra, 2015. "Trust, family businesses and financial intermediation," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 293-316.
    5. Paolo Emilio Mistrulli & Valerio Vacca, 2015. "Social capital and the cost of credit: evidence from a crisis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1009, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. Giuseppe Albanese & Guido de Blasio & Paolo Sestito, 2013. "Trust and preferences: evidence from survey data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 911, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    particularism; social capital;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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