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The evolution of culture and institutions: evidence from the Kuba Kingdom

Lowes, Sara, Nunn, Nathan, Robinson, James A. and Weigel, Jonathan L. (2017) The evolution of culture and institutions: evidence from the Kuba Kingdom. Econometrica, 85 (4). 1065 - 1091. ISSN 0012-9682

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Identification Number: 10.3982/ECTA14139

Abstract

We use variation in historical state centralization to examine the long-term impact of institutions on cultural norms. The Kuba Kingdom, established in Central Africa in the early 17th century by King Shyaam, had more developed state institutions than the other independent villages and chieftaincies in the region. It had an unwritten constitution, separation of political powers, a judicial system with courts and juries, a police force, a military, taxation, and significant public goods provision. Comparing individuals from the Kuba Kingdom to those from just outside the Kingdom, we find that centralized formal institutions are associated with weaker norms of rule following and a greater propensity to cheat for material gain. This finding is consistent with recent models where endogenous investments to inculcate values in children decline when there is an increase in the effectiveness of formal institutions that enforce socially desirable behavior. Consistent with such a mechanism, we find that Kuba parents believe it is less important to teach children values related to rule-following behaviors.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.econometricsociety.org/publications/ec...
Additional Information: © 2017 The Econometric Society
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2019 19:03
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 02:56
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/102772

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