Kin-Networks and Institutional Development
68 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2016 Last revised: 3 Jun 2021
Date Written: April 27, 2020
This study provides evidence that strong kin networks are detrimental for democratic participatory institutions and that the medieval Catholic Church’s marriage regulations dissolved Europe’s clan-based kin networks which contributed to the emergence of participatory institutions. I show that weak ancestral kin networks are positively associated with ethnicities’ democratic traditions in the past and countries’ democracy scores today. At the same time, medieval Church exposure predicts weak kin networks across countries, European regions and ethnicities. In a historical difference-in-difference analysis, I provide evidence that exposure to the Church contributed to the formation of medieval communes – self-governed cities with participatory institutions. Moreover, within Christian Europe, stricter regional and temporal marriage prohibitions are associated with commune formation. Lastly, I shed light on one mechanism, civicness, and show that weak kin networks are associated with higher political participation.
Keywords: Democracy, Family, Kin-groups, Church, Cousin-Marriage, Institutions
JEL Classification: O10, N20, N30, Z10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation