Cultural and Institutional Bifurcation: China and Europe Compared
Stanford University - Department of Economics; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
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
January 7, 2010
American Economic Review, May 2010
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: Institutions, Culture, Development, China, Europe
JEL Classification: N13, N15, E11
Date posted: January 9, 2010