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Culture, Beliefs and Economic Performance

Listed author(s):
  • Rafael Di Tella

    (Harvard Business School)

  • Robert MacCulloch

    ()

    (University of Auckland)

Beliefs are one component of culture. Data from the World Values Survey is available on a subset of beliefs concerning (broadly) meritocracy and poverty that appear relevant for economics. We document how they vary as well as their distribution across countries. We then correlate these measures of beliefs with economic growth and compare them with institutional and geographical determinants of income. A strong negative relationship is found between leftist economic beliefs and growth but little evidence is found of a relationship with respect to non-economic beliefs. Finally, we briefly discuss some causal effects on beliefs. The evidence suggests that higher country risk and more dependence on natural resources shifts nations to a more leftist set of economic beliefs. Overall the evidence supports the view that cultural specificities may explain why certain institutions cannot be transplanted between nations with different cultural histories and underlines the limit to policy activism.

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File URL: http://motu-www.motu.org.nz/wpapers/14_06.pdf
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Paper provided by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research in its series Working Papers with number 14_06.

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Length: 67 pages
Date of creation: May 2014
Handle: RePEc:mtu:wpaper:14_06
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  1. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1998. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 587-597, June.
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  4. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch, 2002. "The Determination of Unemployment Benefits," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 404-434, Part.
  5. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
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  8. Roland Benabou, 2000. "Unequal Societies: Income Distribution and the Social Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 96-129, March.
  9. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  11. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  12. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Corrigenda [Introduction to the Economics of Religion]," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1941-1941, December.
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