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Tolerance For Uncertainty and the Growth of Informationally Opaque Industries

Listed author(s):
  • Rocco Huang

    (University of Amsterdam)

Hofstede (1980)’s cross-country psychological survey of IBM employees shows that some countries (societies) are systematically more tolerant of uncertainty, while tolerance of uncertainty is shown by Rigotti et al. (2003)’s model to be essential to the growth of “emerging sectors about which little is known”. We use Durnev, Morck and Yeung (2004)’s methodology to identify these informationally opaque industries. We hypothesize that, countries characterized by high uncertainty aversion (measured by Hofstede’s indicator) will, because of uncertainty aversion, grow disproportionately slower in industrial sectors where information is less available (proxied by lower informativeness of stock prices in the U.S., Durnev et al. 2004). Using the Rajan and Zingales (1998) “differences-in-differences” methodology, in 34 countries and 36 manufacturing industries, we indeed find robust evidence for this pattern of industrial growth. We also show that national uncertainty aversion is not proxying for under-development of financial sector, inadaptability of civil law systems, lower level of economic development, or many other factors. Our results are also robust when we use religious (Protestant/Catholic) composition to instrument for national uncertainty aversion.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/mac/papers/0507/0507020.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0507020.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 19 Jul 2005
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0507020
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 42
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
  2. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
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  9. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131.
  10. Huang, Rocco R., 2007. "Distance and trade: Disentangling unfamiliarity effects and transport cost effects," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 161-181, January.
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  16. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
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  18. Sujoy Mukerji & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2003. "An overview of economic applications of David Schmeidler`s models of decision making under uncertainty," Economics Series Working Papers 165, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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  37. Art Durnev & Randall Morck & Bernard Yeung, 2004. "Value-Enhancing Capital Budgeting and Firm-specific Stock Return Variation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 65-105, 02.
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