Pauline Grosjean
U. of New South Wales



(Tuesday, 22nd May 2012)

Title : Culture, Institutions and Persistence

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History matters. The persistence of domestic institutions has been discussed as a major channel explaining why historical events can have long lasting impacts on development. Recently, many papers have identified the role of culture as another channel of persistence. The evolution of cultural traits is determined by parental transmission, which explains why cultural change is slow, and by their relative fitness, which is determined by the quality of institutions. Therefore, institutions and culture are linked and our understanding of historical persistence is incomplete in the absence of a clear grasp of their relative and interactive roles. Are they complement or substitute? How does the quality of formal institutions affect the persistence of cultural traits? How do they interact to sustain trade and development? After quickly reviewing the empirical evidence that identifies the role of culture, this workshop will discuss a theoretical model and recent empirical work on the interplay between culture and institutions.

Bibliographical references :

Must read reference : Nunn, N. and Wantchekon, L. 2011. “The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa,” American Economic Review 101(7): 3221-52

Tabellini, G. 2008. “The Scope of Cooperation: Norms and Incentives.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 123(3): 905-950.

Grosjean, P. 2011. A History of Violence: The Culture of Honor as a Determinant of Homicide in the US South. Australian School of Business working paper 2011-13