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Social Attitudes and Economic Development : an Epidemiological Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Yann Algan

    (Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics (EEP-PSE))

  • Pierre Cahuc

    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

In this paper we develop a new empirical approach to uncovering the impact of social attitudes on economic development. We first show that trust of second-generation Americans is significantly influenced by the country of origin of their forebears. In the spirit of the epidemiology literature, we interpret this phenomenon as the consequence of inherited social attitudes. We show that trust inherited by second-generation Americans from their country of origins has changed over time. This result allows us to use the inherited trust of second-generation Americans as a time-varying instrument to track back the evolution of trust in the home country of their parents. This strategy enables us to identify the specific impact of inherited trust on economic development relative to other traditional candidates, such as institutions and geography, by controlling for country fixed effects. We find that inherited trust has explained a substantial share of economic development on a sample of 30 countries during the post-war period, by improving total factor productivity and the accumulation of human and physical capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2007. "Social Attitudes and Economic Development : an Epidemiological Approach," Sciences Po publications 6403, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/8813
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    Cited by:

    1. M. Castro Campos & C. Kool & J. Muysken, 2013. "Cross-Country Private Saving Heterogeneity and Culture," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(2), pages 101-120, June.
    2. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2010. "Symbolic values, occupational choice, and economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 237-251, February.
    3. Pierre Cahuc & Philippe Aghion & Yann Algan, 2008. "Can Policy Interact with Culture? Minimum Wage and the Quality of Labor Relations," Sciences Po publications 3680, Sciences Po.
    4. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Attitudes," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 7(1), pages 8-12, 04.
    5. Guido Tabellini, 2007. "The Scope of Cooperation: Norms and Incentives," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000866, David K. Levine.
    6. Tommaso Nannicini & Andrea Stella & Guido Tabellini & Ugo Troiano, 2013. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 222-250, May.
    7. Philippe Aghion & Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "Regulation and Distrust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1015-1049.
    8. Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-179, February.
    9. Boeri, Tito, 2012. "Setting the minimum wage," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 281-290.
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    11. Durante, Ruben, 2009. "Risk, Cooperation and the Economic Origins of Social Trust: an Empirical Investigation," MPRA Paper 25887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Kangoh Lee, 2017. "Norms and monetary fines as deterrents, and distributive effects," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 1-27, May.
    13. Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Institutions and Culture," Working Papers 330, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    14. Guido Tabellini, 2008. "The Scope of Cooperation: Values and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 905-950.
    15. Marie-Anne Valfort, 2007. "Containing ethnic conflicts through ethical voting? Evidence from Ethiopia," HiCN Working Papers 35, Households in Conflict Network.
    16. Alessandra Fogli & Laura Veldkamp, 2007. "Nature or Nurture? Learning and Female Labor Force Dynamics," Working Papers 07-11, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    17. Pamela Campa & Alessandra Casarico & Paola Profeta, 2011. "Gender Culture and Gender Gap in Employment," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(1), pages 156-182, March.
    18. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-3252, December.
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    20. Irena Grosfeld & Alexander Rodnyansky & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2010. "Persistent anti-market culture: A legacy of the Pale of Settlement and of the Holocaust," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564927, HAL.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic development; growth; social capital and trust;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • P10 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - General

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