Does Culture Affect Economics?

The debate over the role of culture in economics is most interesting. At first blush, when confronted with something like the Chicago school, I feel like all those "soft" factors are missing when trying to explain behavior and outcomes. There’s a nice post at The New Economist and link to a great PDF research paper (reasonably accessible to the lay reader), linked below.

Although sociologists and anthropologists "have accumulated a wealth of field evidence on the impact of culture on economic behavior", in the last fifty years "most economists have been reluctant to rely on culture as a possible explanatory variable". So write Luigi Guiso, Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales in a review article prepared for The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Does Culture Affect Economic Outcomes? (PDF). The authors are "trying to convince the reader that cultural hypotheses can be rigorously tested and are economically important".

1 comment on “Does Culture Affect Economics?
  • Best book I’ve read on this topic: “Eat the Rich” by P.J. O’Rourke. It’s funny (PJ always is) and it really demonstrates how culture matters. Sample chapter titles: “How to make everything from nothing: Hong Kong”; “How to make nothing from everything: Tanzania.”

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