Family Ties

53 Pages Posted: 30 May 2013  

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Paola Giuliano

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: May 2013

Abstract

We study the role of the most primitive institution in society: the family. Its organization and relationship between generations shape values formation, economic outcomes and influences national institutions. We use a measure of family ties, constructed from the World Values Survey, to review and extend the literature on the effect of family ties on economic behavior and economic attitudes. We show that strong family ties are negatively correlated with generalized trust; they imply more household production and less participation in the labor market of women, young adult and elderly. They are correlated with lower interest and participation in political activities and prefer labor market regulation and welfare systems based upon the family rather than the market or the government. Strong family ties may interfere with activities leading to faster growth, but they may provide relief from stress, support to family members and increased wellbeing. We argue that the value regarding the strength of family relationships are very persistent over time, more so than institutions like labor market regulation or welfare systems.

Keywords: cultural economics, family values, growth, institutions, labor market regulations

JEL Classification: J2, J6, O4, O5, Z1

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Giuliano, Paola, Family Ties (May 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9483. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2271934

Alberto F. Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-8388 (Phone)
617-495-7730 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Paola Giuliano

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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