nep-cul New Economics Papers
on Cultural Economics
Issue of 2021‒03‒08
three papers chosen by
Roberto Zanola
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Culture, Institutions & the Long Divergence By Alberto Bisin; Jared Rubin; Avner Seror; Thierry Verdier
  2. The Safest Time to Fly: Pandemic Response in the Era of Fox News By Ananyev, Maxim; Poyker, Michael; Tian, Yuan
  3. How Cultures Converge: An Empirical Investigation of Trade and Linguistic Exchange By Arthur Blouin; Julian Dyer

  1. By: Alberto Bisin; Jared Rubin; Avner Seror; Thierry Verdier
    Abstract: Recent theories of the Long Divergence between Middle Eastern and Western European economies focus on Middle Eastern (over-)reliance on religious legitimacy, use of slave soldiers, and persistence of restrictive proscriptions of religious (Islamic) law. These theories take as exogenous the cultural values that complement the prevailing institutions. As a result, they miss the role of cultural values in either supporting the persistence of or inducing change in the economic and institutional environment. In this paper, we address these issues by modeling the joint evolution of institutions and culture. In doing so, we place the various hypotheses of economic divergence into one, unifying framework. We highlight the role that cultural transmission plays in reinforcing institutional evolution toward either theocratic or secular states. We extend the model to shed light on political decentralization and technological change in the two regions.
    JEL: N34 N35 O10 O33 P16 P48
    Date: 2021–02
  2. By: Ananyev, Maxim; Poyker, Michael; Tian, Yuan
    Abstract: We document a causal effect of conservative Fox News Channel in the United States on physical distancing during COVID-19 pandemic. We measure county-level mobility covering all U.S. states and District of Columbia produced by GPS pings to 15-17 million smartphones and zip-code-level mobility using Facebook location data. Then, using the historical position of Fox News Channel in the cable lineup as the source of exogenous variation, we show that increased exposure to Fox News led to a smaller reduction in distance traveled and smaller increase in the probability to stay home after the national emergency declaration in the United States. Our results show that slanted media can have a harmful effect on containment efforts during a pandemic by affecting people's behaviour.
    Keywords: Mobility,Media Bias,Fox News,COVID-19
    JEL: D1 D7 I31 Z13
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Arthur Blouin; Julian Dyer
    Abstract: This paper empirically investigates whether potential gains from trade influence cultural convergence. We develop a model of linguistic convergence where individuals adopt another language to facilitate trade with that group, and diffuse elements of the language throughout their own culture. The model maps to a dataset of linguistic adoption, featuring nearly all words in all languages. We construct a society-pair measure of language adoption that we show is related to welfare gains from agricultural trade. In particular, we show empirically that (1) improved trade-partner quality can cause cultural convergence; (2) adoption is inverse-U shaped in the quantity of trade-partners; (3) economic leverage determines the direction of convergence. We also provide evidence that the language adoption we identify is cultural rather than purely functional by showing that religious and social organization word-types (amongst others) are heavily adopted.
    Keywords: Language Evolution; Linguistic Distance; Linguistic Exchange; Loanwords; Trade Incentives
    JEL: O11 O12 O13
    Date: 2021–02–25

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