Cultural and Institutional Bifurcation: China and Europe Compared

13 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2010  

Avner Greif

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

Guido Tabellini

University of Bocconi - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research (IGIER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo); Bocconi University - Department of Economics

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Date Written: January 7, 2010

Abstract

How to sustain cooperation is a key challenge for any society. Different social organizations have evolved in the course of history to cope with this challenge by relying on different combinations of external (formal and informal) enforcement institutions and intrinsic motivation. Some societies rely more on informal enforcement and moral obligations within their constituting groups. Others rely more on formal enforcement and general moral obligations towards society at large. How do culture and institutions interact in generating different evolutionary trajectories of societal organizations? Do contemporary attitudes, institutions and behavior reflect distinct pre-modern trajectories?

This paper addresses these questions by examining the bifurcation in the societal organizations of pre-modern China and Europe.

Keywords: Institutions, Culture, Development, China, Europe

JEL Classification: N13, N15, E11

Suggested Citation

Greif, Avner and Tabellini, Guido, Cultural and Institutional Bifurcation: China and Europe Compared (January 7, 2010). American Economic Review, May 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1532906 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1532906

Avner Greif (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) ( email )

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Guido Tabellini

University of Bocconi - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research (IGIER) ( email )

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Italy
+39 02 5836 3305 (Phone)
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo)

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Germany

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Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Milan, 20136
Italy

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