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Family Types and Political Development

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  • Gutmann, Jerg
  • Voigt, Stefan

Abstract

Many years ago, Emmanuel Todd argued that differences in family organization - specifically the rules of inheritance, the number of generations living under one roof, and endogamous marriage - are reflected in the organization of the state. He also argued that different family types lead to different paths of economic development. Economists have long ignored these sweeping claims, but with increasing interest in the deep causes of economic development, family types have caught the attention of some economists. Here, we try to take Todd seriously and evaluate his predictions empirically. Relying on a parsimonious model with exogenous covariates, we find mixed results. On the one hand, countries in which authoritarian family types dominate have much higher levels of the rule of law and innovation than predicted by Todd. On the other, countries in which the communitarian family types dominate are characterized by racism, low levels of the rule of law, few checks on government, and late industrialization. Countries in which endogamy is frequently practiced display a high level of state fragility and have weak civil society organizations.

Suggested Citation

  • Gutmann, Jerg & Voigt, Stefan, 2020. "Family Types and Political Development," ILE Working Paper Series 34, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ilewps:34
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    Cited by:

    1. Gutmann, Jerg & Voigt, Stefan, 2020. "Traditional law in times of the nation state: why is it so prevalent?," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 445-461, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Family types; family systems; family structures; ideology; state formation; constitutional structure; economic development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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