Culture, Beliefs and Economic Performance

Motu Working Paper No. 14-06

66 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2014

See all articles by Rafael Di Tella

Rafael Di Tella

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert MacCulloch

Imperial College London - Tanaka Business School

Date Written: May 25, 2014

Abstract

Beliefs are one component of culture. Data from the World Values Survey is available on a subset of beliefs concerning (broadly) meritocracy and poverty that appear relevant for economics. We document how they vary as well as their distribution across countries. We then correlate these measures of beliefs with economic growth and compare them with institutional and geographical determinants of income. A strong negative relationship is found between leftist economic beliefs and growth but little evidence is found of a relationship with respect to non-economic beliefs. Finally, we briefly discuss some causal effects on beliefs. The evidence suggests that higher country risk and more dependence on natural resources shifts nations to a more leftist set of economic beliefs. Overall the evidence supports the view that cultural specificities may explain why certain institutions cannot be transplanted between nations with different cultural histories and underlines the limit to policy activism.

Keywords: Beliefs, institutions, causality

JEL Classification: P16, E62

Suggested Citation

Di Tella, Rafael and MacCulloch, Robert, Culture, Beliefs and Economic Performance (May 25, 2014). Motu Working Paper No. 14-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2441766 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2441766

Rafael Di Tella

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States
617-495-5048 (Phone)
617-496-5985 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.hbs.edu/rditella/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Robert MacCulloch (Contact Author)

Imperial College London - Tanaka Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
95
Abstract Views
590
rank
276,552
PlumX Metrics