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Institutional Transplant and Cultural Proximity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia

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  • Giampaolo Lecce
  • Laura Ogliari

Abstract

The economic impact of an institutional transplant depends on the underlying cultural envi-ronment of the receiving country. This paper provides the first evidence that the positive effect of importing good institutions cancels out when the receiving territories are characterized by cultural traits in conflict with those embedded in the imported institutions. We obtain this result using county-level data from late nineteenth-century Prussia. This environment allows us to exploit both the quasi-natural experiment generated by the radical Napoleonic institutional reforms and the deeply rooted cultural heterogeneity across Prussian counties. First, using religious affiliation as a proxy of cultural commonality, we find no effect of French institutions in Protestant areas. Then, using hand-collected data on pre-Napoleonic reigns we show that kingdoms with stronger ties to French culture exhibit a more effective transplant even when controlling for institutional proximity. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that cultural compatibility between the country exporting the institution and the receiving areas is a significant determinant of a successful transplant.

Suggested Citation

  • Giampaolo Lecce & Laura Ogliari, 2015. "Institutional Transplant and Cultural Proximity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 5652, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5652
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeremy Edwards, 2021. "Can Institutional Transplants Work? A Reassessment of the Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 9333, CESifo.
    2. Giampaolo Lecce & Laura Ogliari & Tommaso Orlando, 2017. "Resistance to Institutions and Cultural Distance: Brigandage in Post-Unification Italy," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2097, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2014. "Fertility and Modernity," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0779, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    4. Thierry Kangoye, 2019. "Title: Aid, Institutional Transplants and The Rule of Law," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(4), pages 2875-2889.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutions; institutional transplant; culture; economic growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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