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Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral Resources Foster Individualism

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  • Mathieu Couttenier
  • Marc Sangnier

Abstract

This paper documents a positive relationship between mineral resources abundance and individualistic values in the United States. We refer to "individualism" as the set of values opposed to public intervention in income allocation and favorable to individual selfresponsibility. We show that individuals living in states with large mineral resources endowment are more individualistic. We take advantage of both the spatial and the temporal distributions of mineral discoveries since 1800 to uncover two channels. The experience channel arises because of direct observation of discoveries by individuals. The transmission channel consists in the persistence of specific values across generations.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathieu Couttenier & Marc Sangnier, 2012. "Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral Resources Foster Individualism," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 12.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:12.05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Couttenier, Mathieu & Sangnier, Marc, 2015. "Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral resources and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 243-256.
    2. Couttenier, Mathieu & Sangnier, Marc, 2015. "Living in the Garden of Eden: Mineral resources and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 243-256.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    individualism; redistribution; mineral resources; persistence;

    JEL classification:

    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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