Institutions Shape Culture: The Civic Imprint of Democracy <http://mipp.cl/es/events/tba-72/> – Nicolas Ajzenman (FGV); coautores Daron Acemoglu (MIT); Cevat Giray Aksoy (King’s College); Martin Fiszbein (Boston University); Carlos Molina (MIT).
Abstract: We show that democracy shapes civic culture using large-scale data with global coverage and exploiting variation across cohorts in democratic exposure during early adulthood. Exposure to democratic institutions during ages 18 to 25 (the “impressionable years”) leads to persistently higher levels of civic behavior. Moreover, democracy fosters the formation of civic values, support for democracy, and reciprocity, that is, on multiple aspects of civic culture likely underlying prosocial behavior. Furthermore, we document positive effects on out-group trust, a defining aspect of generalized morality. In contrast, we find no significant effects on altruism nor on in-group trust. Supporting the impressionable years thesis (and thus our empirical strategy), democratic exposure during other periods of life does not leave the same imprint. We conclude by exploring how different components of democracy affect various dimensions of civic culture. (JEL P16, Z1, A13, N40).
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