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Family Ties

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Paola Giuliano

We study the role of the most primitive institution in society: the family. Its organization and relationship between generations shape values formation, economic outcomes and influences national institutions. We use a measure of family ties, constructed from the World Values Survey, to review and extend the literature on the effect of family ties on economic behavior and economic attitudes. We show that strong family ties are negatively correlated with generalized trust; they imply more household production and less participation in the labor market of women, young adult and elderly. They are correlated with lower interest and participation in political activities and prefer labor market regulation and welfare systems based upon the family rather than the market or the government. Strong family ties may interfere with activities leading to faster growth, but they may provide relief from stress, support to family members and increased wellbeing. We argue that the value regarding the strength of family relationships are very persistent over time, more so than institutions like labor market regulation or welfare systems.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18966.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Publication status: published as Handbook of Economic Growth Volume 2, 2014, Pages 177–215 Handbook of Economic Growth Cover image Chapter 4 – Family Ties Alberto Alesina*, †, , Paola Giuliano‡,
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18966
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  1. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2013. "Long-term Persistence," EIEF Working Papers Series 1323, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Sep 2013.
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  8. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2011. "Family Ties And Political Participation," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(5), pages 817-839, October.
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  12. Alesina, Alberto F & Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre & Giuliano, Paola, 2010. "Family Values and the Regulation of Labor," CEPR Discussion Papers 7688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  14. Ermisch, John & Gambetta, Diego, 2008. "Do strong family ties inhibit trust?," ISER Working Paper Series 2008-37, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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  16. Vincenzo Galasso & Paola Profeta, 2012. "When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2012-04-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
  17. 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.
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  21. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola & Nunn, Nathan, 2011. "On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough," IZA Discussion Papers 5735, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2007. "The Power of the Family," IZA Discussion Papers 2750, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Francesco Giavazzi & Fabio Schiantarelli & Michel Serafinelli, 2013. "Attitudes, Policies, And Work," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1256-1289, December.
  24. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," NBER Working Papers 12153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  27. Durante, Ruben, 2009. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 25887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  28. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  29. Samuel Bentolila & Andrea Ichino, 2008. "Unemployment and consumption near and far away from the Mediterranean," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 255-280, April.
  30. Nicole M Fortin, 2005. "Gender Role Attitudes and the Labour-market Outcomes of Women across OECD Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 416-438, Autumn.
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