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Do Markets Promote Prosocial Behavior? Evidence from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample


  • E. Anthon Eff
  • Malcolm M. Dow


Recent experimental games conducted by ethnographers (Henrich et al. 2004) have shown that groups with higher levels of market integration exhibit higher levels of prosocial behavior. In order to see whether these results are confirmed in a broader ethnographic sample, this paper draws from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample variables measuring the degree to which a culture seeks to inculcate generosity, honesty, and trust. Using these as dependent variables, models are developed where market-related variables are among the independent variables. The paper uses the methodology developed by Dow (2007) to correct for Galton’s problem, and uses multiple imputation to deal with the problem of missing data. The results fail to confirm a systematic association between generalized prosocial behavior and market integration.

Suggested Citation

  • E. Anthon Eff & Malcolm M. Dow, 2008. "Do Markets Promote Prosocial Behavior? Evidence from the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample," Working Papers 200803, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:200803

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    2. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2007. "Governance Matters VI: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996-2006," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4280, The World Bank.
    3. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    4. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-I-Martin, 1992. "Public Finance in Models of Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 645-661.
    5. Caselli, Francesco & Esquivel, Gerardo & Lefort, Fernando, 1996. "Reopening the Convergence Debate: A New Look at Cross-Country Growth Empirics," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 363-389, September.
    6. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
    7. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
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    More about this item


    prosocial behavior; multiple imputation; market integration; Galton’s problem;

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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