NBER Working Papers by Yann Algan

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Working Papers

October 2011Teaching Practices and Social Capital
with Pierre Cahuc, Andrei Shleifer: w17527
We use several data sets to consider the effect of teaching practices on student beliefs, as well as on organization of firms and institutions. In cross-country data, we show that teaching practices (such as copying from the board versus working on projects together) are strongly related to various dimensions of social capital, from beliefs in cooperation to institutional outcomes. We then use micro-data to investigate the influence of teaching practices on student beliefs about cooperation both with each other and with teachers, and students’ involvement in civic life. A two-stage least square strategy provides evidence that teaching practices have an independent sizeable effect on student social capital. The relationship between teaching practices and student test performance is nonlinea...
February 2010Family Values and the Regulation of Labor
with Alberto F. Alesina, Pierre Cahuc, Paola Giuliano: w15747
Flexible labor markets require geographically mobile workers to be efficient. Otherwise firms can take advantage of the immobility of workers and extract rents at the expense of workers. In cultures with strong family ties, moving away from home is costly. Thus, to limit the rents of firms and avoid moving, individuals with strong family ties rationally choose regulated labor markets, even though regulation generates lower employment and income. Empirically, we do find that individuals who inherit stronger family ties are less mobile, have lower wages, are less often employed and support more stringent labor market regulations. We find a positive association between labor market rigidities at the beginning of the twenty first century and family values prevailing before World War II, and be...
January 2009Regulation and Distrust
with Philippe Aghion, Pierre Cahuc, Andrei Shleifer: w14648
In a cross-section of countries, government regulation is strongly negatively correlated with social capital. We document this correlation, and present a model explaining it. In the model, distrust creates public demand for regulation, while regulation in turn discourages social capital accumulation, leading to multiple equilibria. A key implication of the model is that individuals in low trust countries want more government intervention even though the government is corrupt. We test this and other implications of the model using country- and individual-level data on social capital and beliefs about government's role, as well as on changes in beliefs and in trust during the transition from socialism.
September 2008Can Policy Interact with Culture? Minimum Wage and the Quality of Labor Relations
with Philippe Aghion, Pierre Cahuc: w14327
Can public policy interfere with culture, such as beliefs and norms of cooperation? We investigate this question by evaluating the interactions between the State and the Civil Society, focusing on the labor market. International data shows a negative correlation between union density and the quality of labor relations on one hand, and state regulation of the minimum wage on the other hand. To explain this relation, we develop a model of learning of the quality of labor relations. State regulation crowds out the possibility for workers to experiment negotiation and learn about the true cooperative nature of participants in the labor market. This crowding out effect can give rise to multiple equilibria: a "good" equilibrium characterized by strong beliefs in cooperation, leading to high unio...

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