Kin-Based Institutions and Economic Development

126 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2022 Last revised: 28 Apr 2023

See all articles by Duman Bahrami-Rad

Duman Bahrami-Rad

Bowdoin College

Jonathan Beauchamp

Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University.

Joseph Henrich

Harvard University; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

Jonathan Schulz

George Mason University; University of Nottingham - Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx); George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: August 25, 2022

Abstract

Kin-based institutions are the set of social norms governing descent, marriage, and post-marital residence. We establish a robust and economically significant negative association between the tightness and breadth of kin-based institutions---their kinship intensity---and economic development. To measure kinship intensity and economic development, we deploy genotypic measures and quantified ethnographic observations on kinship with data on satellite nighttime luminosity and regional GDP. Our results are robust to controlling for a suite of geographic and cultural variables and hold across countries, within countries at both the regional and ethnolinguistic levels, and within countries in a spatial regression discontinuity analysis. Considering potential mechanisms, we discuss evidence consistent with mediating roles for the division of labor, trust, institutions and innovation.

Keywords: kin-based institutions, cousin marriage, inbreeding coefficient, cultural evolution, economic development

JEL Classification: D01, J12, J16, N30, Z12, Z13

Suggested Citation

Bahrami-Rad, Duman and Beauchamp, Jonathan and Henrich, Joseph and Schulz, Jonathan, Kin-Based Institutions and Economic Development (August 25, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4200629 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4200629

Duman Bahrami-Rad

Bowdoin College ( email )

ME
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.duman-b-rad.com/

Jonathan Beauchamp (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University. ( email )

Arlington, VA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://jonathanpbeauchamp.com

Joseph Henrich

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Jonathan Schulz

George Mason University ( email )

Fairfax, VA
United States

University of Nottingham - Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx) ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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