Friday, December 18, 2009

An Epidemiological Approach

This was the subtitle of Yann Algan and Pierre Cahuc's paper Social Attitudes and Macroeconomic Performance. It was a very innovative use of the General Social Survey and World Values Survey to try to disentangle the effects of trust (using responses by second generation American immigrants) on economic growth. I wasn't entirely convinced by their argument but I thought the combining of GSS and WVS (at the averaged country level) was innovative.

I was bothered by the absence of any "epidemiologic" approach however. What does it mean? The authors define it roughly as inheritance of social attitudes from their parents but this is not my take on epidemiology.

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