Cultural Constraints on Innovation-Based Growth

Mariko J. Klasing, Petros Milionis
2013 Social Science Research Network  
To what extent does the cultural composition of a society impose a constraint on its long-run growth potential? We study this question in the context of an innovation-based model of growth where cultural attitudes are endogenously transmitted from one generation to the next. Focusing on attitudes regarding patience, we analyze the two-way interaction between economic growth and the intergenerational transmission of patience. Exploiting this interaction, we compare the long-run growth
more » ... of a culturally heterogeneous society where patience is initially underrepresented in the population with a culturally homogeneous society where all agents are perfectly patient. Our main result is that in the absence of any intrinsic preferences of patient parents to transmit their attitudes to their children, the development paths of the two societies are bound to diverge, with the culturally heterogeneous society experiencing lower growth rates. Yet, if patient parents ceteris paribus prefer their children to be patient like them, we show that the two societies can in the long run grow at the same rate.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.2417419 fatcat:qgeradpybnafpa26n3ehpu7pjq