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Does Culture Cause Economic Development? A Reassessment of the Evidence from European Regions

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  • Jeremy Edwards

Abstract

This paper shows that Tabellini’s recent claim to have provided evidence that culture has a causal effect on economic development is unjustified. Tabellini’s claim is based on an instrumental variables analysis in which two instruments are used to identify the supposed causal effect. One of these – past literacy – is an invalid instrument. The other – past political institutions – is a weak instrument. The estimates obtained using this second instrument are so imprecise that they cannot be used to support any conclusions about the effect of culture on economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Edwards, 2012. "Does Culture Cause Economic Development? A Reassessment of the Evidence from European Regions," CESifo Working Paper Series 4015, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4015
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4015.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2003. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, March.
    2. Jean-Marie Dufour, 2003. "Identification, weak instruments, and statistical inference in econometrics," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 767-808, November.
    3. Guido Tabellini, 2010. "Culture and Institutions: Economic Development in the Regions of Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 677-716, June.
    4. Jinyong Hahn & Jerry Hausman, 2003. "Weak Instruments: Diagnosis and Cures in Empirical Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 118-125, May.
    5. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    culture; economic development; instrumental variables; weak instruments;

    JEL classification:

    • C26 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P10 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - General

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