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Herding, Warfare, and a Culture of Honor: Global Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Cao, Yiming

    (Boston University)

  • Enke, Benjamin

    (University of Bonn)

  • Falk, Armin

    (briq, University of Bonn)

  • Giuliano, Paola

    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Nunn, Nathan

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

According to the widely known 'culture of honor' hypothesis from social psychology, traditional herding practices are believed to have generated a value system that is conducive to revenge-taking and violence. We test this idea at a global scale using a combination of ethnographic records, historical folklore information, global data on contemporary conflict events, and large-scale surveys. The data show systematic links between traditional herding practices and a culture of honor. First, the culture of pre-industrial societies that relied on animal herding emphasizes violence, punishment, and revenge-taking. Second, contemporary ethnolinguistic groups that historically subsisted more strongly on herding have more frequent and severe conflict today. Third, the contemporary descendants of herders report being more willing to take revenge and punish unfair behavior in the globally representative Global Preferences Survey. In all, the evidence supports the idea that this form of economic subsistence generated a functional psychology that has persisted until today and plays a role in shaping conflict across the globe.

Suggested Citation

  • Cao, Yiming & Enke, Benjamin & Falk, Armin & Giuliano, Paola & Nunn, Nathan, 2021. "Herding, Warfare, and a Culture of Honor: Global Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 14738, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14738
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2013. "On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 469-530.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Ulugbek Aminjonov & Olivier Bargain & Maira Colacce & Luca Tiberti, 2022. "Culture, Intra-household Distribution and Individual Poverty," Working Papers - Economics wp2022_21.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    3. Voigt, Stefan, 2022. "Determinant of Social Norms," ILE Working Paper Series 58, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    culture of honor; conflict; punishment; revenge;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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