The Power of the Family

55 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2007

See all articles by Alberto F. Alesina

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Paola Giuliano

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2007

Abstract

The structure of family relationships influences economic behavior and attitudes. We define our measure of family ties using individual responses from the World Value Survey regarding the role of the family and the love and respect that children need to have for their parents for over 70 countries. We show that strong family ties imply more reliance on the family as an economic unit which provides goods and services and less on the market and on the government for social insurance. With strong family ties home production is higher, labor force participation of women and youngsters, and geographical mobility, lower. Families are larger (higher fertility and higher family size) with strong family ties, which is consistent with the idea of the family as an important economic unit. We present evidence on cross country regressions. To assess causality we look at the behavior of second generation immigrants in the US and we employ a variable based on the grammatical rule of pronoun drop as an instrument for family ties. Our results overall indicate a significant influence of the strength of family ties on economic outcomes.

Keywords: family ties, culture, home production and market activities, immigrants

JEL Classification: Z10, Z13

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Giuliano, Paola, The Power of the Family (April 2007). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2132; IZA Discussion Paper No. 2750. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=980948 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.980948

Alberto F. Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Paola Giuliano

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

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Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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