Social Attitudes and Economic Development: An Epidemiological Approach

49 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2007

See all articles by Yann Algan

Yann Algan

Universite Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne - CNRS-EUREQUA; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Pierre Cahuc

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - National School for Statistical and Economic Administration (ENSAE); Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne - Equipe Universitaire de Recherche en Economie Quantitative (EUREQUA); University of Angers - French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2007

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.

Keywords: social capital, trust, economic development, growth

JEL Classification: O10, F10, P10, N13

Suggested Citation

Algan, Yann and Cahuc, Pierre, Social Attitudes and Economic Development: An Epidemiological Approach (July 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2935. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1004495

Yann Algan

Universite Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne - CNRS-EUREQUA ( email )

106-112 Boulevard de l'Hopital
Paris Cedex 13, 75647
France

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Pierre Cahuc (Contact Author)

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - National School for Statistical and Economic Administration (ENSAE) ( email )

92245 Malakoff Cedex
France

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne - Equipe Universitaire de Recherche en Economie Quantitative (EUREQUA) ( email )

106-112 Boulevard de l'Hopital
Paris Cedex 13, 75647
France
+33 1 4117 3717 (Phone)
+33 1 4117 3724 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://eurequa.univ-paris1.fr/membres/cahuc/

University of Angers - French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

106-112 Boulevard de l'Hopital
75647 Paris Cedex 13
France
+33 4 44 07 82 06 (Phone)
+33 4 44 07 82 02 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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