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Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?

  • Paola Sapienza
  • Luigi Zingales
  • Luigi Guiso

Economists have been reluctant to rely on culture as a possible determinant of economic phenomena. The notion of culture is so broad and the channels through which it can enter the economic discourse so vague that it is difficult to design testable hypotheses. In this paper we show this does need to be the case. We introduce a narrower definition of culture that allows for a simple methodology to develop and test cultural-based explanations. We also present several applications of this methodology: from the choice to become entrepreneur to that of how much to save, to end with the political decision on income redistribution.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11999.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
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Publication status: published as Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2006. "Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 23-48, Spring.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11999
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