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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, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)

  • Marc Sangnier

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC))

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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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00564920.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00564920
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