Universalism vs. Particularism: A Round Trip from Sociology to Economics

37 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2014  

Guido de Blasio

Bank of Italy

Diego Scalise

Bank of Italy

Paolo Sestito

Bank of Italy

Date Written: January 24, 2014

Abstract

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

de Blasio, Guido and Scalise, Diego and Sestito, Paolo, Universalism vs. Particularism: A Round Trip from Sociology to Economics (January 24, 2014). Bank of Italy Occasional Paper No. 212. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2419937 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2419937

Guido De Blasio

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
00184 Roma
Italy

Diego Scalise

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

Paolo Sestito (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184
Italy

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