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Social Capital and the Family: Evidence that Strong Family Ties Cultivate Civic Virtues

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I establish a positive relationship between family ties and civic virtues, as captured by disapproval of tax and benefit cheating, corruption, and a range of other dimensions of exploiting others for personal gain. I find that family ties are a complement to social capital, using within country evidence from 83 nations and data on second generation immigrants in 29 countries with ancestry in 85 nations. Strong families cultivate universalist values and produce more civic and altruistic individuals. The results provide a constructive role for families in promoting family values, which challenge an ‘amoral familism.’ Moreover, strong families are complementary with more developed and democratic institutions. The results provide a constructive role for families in promoting family values that support successful societies with a high state and fiscal capacity.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 967.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 04 Jun 2013
Publication status: Published as Ljunge, Martin, 'Social Capital and the Family: Evidence that Strong Family Ties Cultivate Civic Virtues' in Economica, 2015, pages 103-136.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0967
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  1. Martin Ljunge, 2012. "Cultural Transmission of Civicness," Discussion Papers 11-33, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  2. Martin Ljunge, 2011. "The Spirit of the Welfare State? Adaptation in the Demand for Social Insurance," Discussion Papers 11-30, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2009. "Family Ties and Political Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 4150, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Aghion, Philippe & Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre & Shleifer, Andrei, 2010. "Regulation and Distrust," Scholarly Articles 12490649, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. 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, 06.
  6. Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2008. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 14268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ermisch, John & Gambetta, Diego, 2010. "Do strong family ties inhibit trust?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 365-376, September.
  8. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2011. "Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9624.
  9. Pierre Cahuc & Yann Algan, 2009. "Civic Virtue and Labor Market Institutions," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 111-145, January.
  10. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "Presidential Address Institutions and Culture," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 255-294, 04-05.
  11. Alesina, Alberto F & Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre & Giuliano, Paola, 2010. "Family Values and the Regulation of Labor," CEPR Discussion Papers 7688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Marianne Bertrand & Antoinette Schoar, 2006. "The Role of Family in Family Firms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 73-96, Spring.
  13. Lucifora, Claudio & Meurs, Dominique, 2012. "Family Values, Social Needs and Preferences for Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 6977, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Ljunge, Martin, 2012. "Trust Issues: Evidence from Second Generation Immigrants," Working Paper Series 946, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  15. Cahuc, Pierre & Algan, Yann & Aghion, Philippe, 2009. "Civil Society and the State: The Interplay between Cooperation and Minimum Wage Regulation," Scholarly Articles 3226957, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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