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

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
Date of revision:
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
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2009. "Family Ties and Political Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 4150, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Martin Ljunge, 2012. "The Spirit of the Welfare State? Adaptation in the Demand for Social Insurance," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 187 - 223.
  3. Martin Ljunge, 2011. "Trust Issues: Evidence from Second Generation Immigrants," Discussion Papers 11-31, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Alberto F. Alesina & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Paola Giuliano, 2010. "Family Values and the Regulation of Labor," NBER Working Papers 15747, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ljunge, Martin, 2012. "Cultural transmission of civicness," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 291-294.
  6. Pierre Cahuc & Yann Algan, 2009. "Civic Virtue and Labor Market Institutions," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 111-45, January.
  7. Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Culture and institutions: economic development in the regions of Europe," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000466, David K. Levine.
  8. 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.
  9. Aghion, Philippe & Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre & Shleifer, Andrei, 2010. "Regulation and Distrust," Scholarly Articles 12490649, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Luttmer, Erzo F. P. & Singhal, Monica, 2008. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," Working Paper Series rwp08-038, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  11. Ermisch, John & Gambetta, Diego, 2010. "Do strong family ties inhibit trust?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 365-376, September.
  12. Lucifora, Claudio & Meurs, Dominique, 2012. "Family Values, Social Needs and Preferences for Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 6977, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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