Universalism vs. Particularism: A Round Trip from Sociology to Economics
37 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2014
Date Written: January 24, 2014
Social scientists, in particular sociologists, claim that the distinction between universalistic and particularistic values is relevant to explaining the social behaviour of individuals (and societies). This paper provides preliminary empirical evidence that supports the claim. It first defines a number of proxies for the degree of particularism embedded into long-celebrated dimensions of social behaviour (trust, political awareness, and associational activities). Then, it shows that the particularistic measures are positively correlated to each other and negatively correlated to some established generalist measures for all dimensions of social behaviour considered, both across and within countries and regions. Moreover, the paper relates that the various proxies for particularism share the same set of covariates (such as low education and income), which are neatly distinguishable from the determinants of the generalist measures.
Keywords: particularism, social capital
JEL Classification: A13, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation