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Living in the garden of Eden: Mineral resources foster individualism

  • Mathieu Couttenier

    ()

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

  • Marc Sangnier

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Using mineral resources discoveries in the United States since 1800, we argue that mineral mining fosters individualism. Measuring individualism and the demand for redistribution by questions of the General Social Survey (GSS), we show that: (i) individuals living in states with mineral resources are more individualistic and support less redistribution by the government ; (ii) the higher the number of mines in a states, the lower the support for governmental redistribution and the higher the individualism ; (iii) individuals that experienced mineral discoveries during their early adulthood are more individualistic and support less redistribution ; (iv) this effect vanishes over time. These results are robust to the introduction of various explanatory variables that may explain the formation of individualistic values.

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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00564920
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