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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 exported institutions depends on the underlying cultural environment of the receiving country. We present evidence that cultural proximity between the exporting and the receiving country positively affects the adoption of new institutions and the resulting long-term economic outcomes. We obtain this result by combining new information on pre-Napoleonic kingdoms with county-level census data from nineteenthcentury Prussia. This environment allows us to exploit a quasi-natural experiment generated by radical Napoleonic institutional reforms and deeply rooted cultural heterogeneity across Prussian counties. We show that counties that are culturally more similar to France, in terms of either religious affiliation or historical exposure to French culture, display better long-term economic performance. We analyze a range of alternative explanations and suggest that our findings are most easily explained by cultural proximity facilitating the adoption of new institutions. Keywords: Institutions, Institutional Transplants, Culture, Economic Growth JEL classification: N13, N43, O47, Z10, Z12

Suggested Citation

  • Giampaolo Lecce & Laura Ogliari, 2017. "Institutional Transplant and Cultural Proximity: Evidence from Nineteenth-Century Prussia," Working Papers 598, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:598
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item

    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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