Purchase - $38.00

Investigating Capitalism Aversion

32 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2008  

Augustin Landier

Toulouse School of Economics

David Thesmar

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA)

Mathias Thoenig

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Geneva - Department of Political Economics

Abstract

Augustin Landier, David Thesmar and Mathias ThoenigThere are two non-mutually exclusive theories of individual variations in pro-capitalism opinions. The first theory views pro-capitalism opinions as self-serving: Individuals are opposed to market forces when they threaten their economic rents. The second theory views differences in such opinions as reflecting genuine disagreement on the efficiency of various economic systems. Using individual data, we investigate the validity of both theories, focusing on attitudes toward private ownership, private profit and competition. We find evidence that the first theory explains some of the variations in attitudes. However, consistent with the second theory, we also find evidence of individual learning about the comparative virtues of economic systems. The learning is slow, home-biased and path-dependent. Long-run cultural and historical determinants of pro-market attitudes, such as religion and legal origins, explain more than 40% of the cross-country variations in capitalism aversion. Last, we provide tentative evidence that at the country level, pro-market opinions affect the nature of economic institutions. Our results suggest that the feasibility of economic reform does not depend solely on its impact on the distribution of rents; ideological a-prioris are likely to be important as well.

Suggested Citation

Landier, Augustin and Thesmar, David and Thoenig, Mathias, Investigating Capitalism Aversion. Economic Policy, Vol. 23, Issue 55, pp. 465-497, July 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1144265 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0327.2008.00205.x

Augustin Landier (Contact Author)

Toulouse School of Economics ( email )

Place Anatole-France
Toulouse Cedex, F-31042
France

David Thesmar

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Economics, Finance, Accounting (EFA) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States
16172259767 (Phone)

Mathias Thoenig

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS) ( email )

28, rue des Saints-Peres
75007 Paris
France
+33 1 4313 6380 (Phone)
+33 1 4313 6382 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

University of Geneva - Department of Political Economics ( email )

40 boulevard du Pont-d'Arve
Geneva 4, CH-1211
Switzerland
+41 22 379 8274 (Phone)
+41 22 379 8293 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Downloads
1
Abstract Views
545