The Clan and the City: Sustaining Cooperation in China and Europe

Posted: 6 Jul 2012 Last revised: 29 Apr 2017

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: Sep 5, 2015

Abstract

Over the last millennium, the clan and the city have been the locus of cooperation in China and Europe respectively. This paper examines -- analytically, historically, and empirically -- the cultural, social, and institutional co-evolution that led to this bifurcation. We highlight that groups with which individuals identify are basic units of cooperation. Such groups impact institutional development because intra-group moral commitment reduces enforcement cost implying a comparative advantage in pursuing collective actions. Moral groups perpetuate due to positive feedbacks between morality, institutions, and the implied pattern of cooperation.

Keywords: Cooperation, Moral Groups, China, Europe, Institutions, Development

JEL Classification: N00, O10, O50, P51, Z10

Suggested Citation

Greif, Avner and Tabellini, Guido, The Clan and the City: Sustaining Cooperation in China and Europe (Sep 5, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2101460 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2101460

Avner Greif (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Stanford, CA 94305-6072
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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)
+39 02 5836 3302 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

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

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Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

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