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The Cultural Roots of Institutions

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  • Mariko Klasing

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Abstract

Do political institutions have cultural roots? Using a novel data set of cultural values we show that culture, defined as a society's collective beliefs and values, is an important determinant of institutions. We argue that the traditional proxies for culture used in the existing literature suffer from conceptual problems and find that they do not survive several robustness checks. Our results suggest, that individualist societies and societies with preference for a more equal distribution of power set up institutions that better protect individual property rights, place more constraints on governments and have more effective governments. We find that our measures of culture are robust to the inclusion of other control variables and across different samples and that they always dominate the effects of the traditional proxies.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariko Klasing, 2008. "The Cultural Roots of Institutions," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2008 2008-24, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2008:2008-24
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    File URL: http://ux-tauri.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/dp2008/DP-24-Kl.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond the Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, and the Evolution of Ethnic and Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988.
    2. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutions; political institutions; culture; cultural values;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P00 - Economic Systems - - General - - - General
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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