Does Culture Matter?
This paper reviews the literature on culture and economics, focusing primarily on the epidemiological approach. The epidemiological approach studies the variation in outcomes across different immigrant groups residing in the same country. Immigrants presumably differ in their cultures but share a common institutional and economic environment. This allows one to separate the effect of culture from the original economic and institutional environment. This approach has been used to study a variety of issues, including female labor force participaiton, fertility, labor market regulation, redistribution, growth, and financial development among others.
The author wishes to thank Joyce Cheng Wong for excellent research assistance and the NSF and the Russell Sage Foundation for financial support. This is a draft chapter for of the Handbook of Social Economics. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
"Does Culture Matter?" in, J. Benhabib, M.O. Jackson, and A. Bisin, editors, Handbook of Social Economics Vol. 1A, North Holland, 2011