Further evidence that primary schooling increases equality

reforms of primary schooling explains the decrease in brother correlations of income in Sweden, for cohorts born 1932 to 1968



When did Sweden become egalitarian? Further evidence

Taken from Lee, Soltow. 1989. "The Rich and the Destitute in Sweden, 1805-1855: A Test of Tocquevilles Inequality Hypotheses." Economic History Review 2-42:43-63.

Important quotes:

The groupwith positive savings increased steadily after 1840 in the rural sector.

Lowergroups benefited during the early stages of the industrial revolution.

Jorbergstresses the rise in agricultural yield after 1830

A government report issued in 1863also stressed the rise in canal traffic and an increase in the number ofsavings banks.

“Both thedestitute and the rich decreased in significance in the nineteenth century.Equality appears to have increased” (p. 53)


Institutions and Behavior

Here's an interesting abstract:

We present results from a novel experiment on the effect of a policydesigned to encourage cooperation in a prisoner’s dilemma game. We find that the effect of this policy on the level of cooperation is greater when it was chosen democratically by the subjects than when it was exogenously imposed. This difference remains after controlling for selection (those thatchoose the policy may be more likely to be affected by it). We conclude that the treatment effect of policies may depend on whether they are endogenous or exogenous to the society on which they are imposed. Therefore,democratic institutions may have an effect on behavior in addition to the effect in terms of policy choice. More generally, our findings have implications for empirical studies of treatment effects in other contexts: the effect of a treatment may depend on whether it is endogenous or exogenous.



A classic?

Granovetter, M. 1985. Economic Action and Social Structures: The Problem of Embeddedness. Americal Journal of Sociology 91(3): 481-510.

Why North was wrong, and the implications thereof

The standard definition of institutions:
“A set of rules, compliance procedures, and moral and ethical behavioral norms designed to constrain the behavior of individuals in the interests of maximizing the wealth or utility of principals” (p. 201)
North, Douglass C. 1981, Structure and Change in Economic History. New York: Norton & Co.

The problem with this definition: Institutions are typically not designed, they have evolved, and they must be enforced somehow.

To think about: what does this mean for the validity of research regarding the effect of institutions on variable y?

confusing causalities

Many recent papers deal with correlations between two of the following:

Trust/social capital
economic freedom
welfare state

Berggren, Niclas and Henrik Jordahl. 2005. "Does free trade really reduce growth? Further testing using the economic freedom index." Public Choice 122:99-114.

Berggren, Niclas och Jordahl, Henrik (2006). "Free to Trust: Economic Freedom and Social Capital." Kyklos, 59(2): 141-169.

Berggren, Niclas, Elinder, Mikael och Jordahl, Henrik (2007). "Trust and Growth: A Shaky Relationship." Empirical Economics

Jordahl & Gustavsson (2006) Inequality and Trust in Sweden: Some Inequalities are More Harmful than Others (here)

Alesina, the determinants of Trust

Bjornskov, C. 2006. "The multiple facets of social capital." European Journal of Political Economy 22:22-40.

Kumlin, Staffan and Bo Rothstein. 2005. "Making and Breaking Social Capital: The Impact of Welfare-State Institutions." Comparative Political Studies 38:339-365.

more papers will be added...

This field need a unifying theory. Anyone?


Sources and data on inequality

In social policy and society, Grace Kelly has compiled a number of useful sources on equality and inequality, including websites with data.

Available here.

Does anarchy generate order?

Very interesting debate at Cato unbound.


Rodrik och Caplan om policy reform

rörande bl a Rodrik i JEL här


Hotar globaliseringen välfärdsstaten?

Till raden av studier som avvisar de enkla hotbilderna:

Swank, Duane 1998. "Funding the Welfare State: Globalization and the Taxation of Business in Advanced Market Economies." Political Studies 46:671-692.

Theorists assert that international capital mobility creates substantial pressure for all democratically elected governments to decrease tax burdens on business. I explicate and critique the general version of this theory and offer an alternative view. Empirically, I explore whether or not the globalization of capital markets has resulted in decreases in business social security, payroll, and profit taxes. I also investigate whether or not capital mobility has intensified government responsiveness to domestic investment and profitability.

Evidence suggests that business tax burdens have not been reduced in the face of rises in capital mobility nor is tax responsiveness to profitability and domestic investment intensified by more open capital markets. To the contrary, analyses indicate that business taxation has become subject to new 'market conforming' policy rules that developed in tandem with liberalization of markets. These new policy orientations reduce the economic management roles of business taxation while leaving the revenue-generating roles intact. In conclusion, I discuss the implications of the findings for questions concerning the structural power of internationally mobile capital, redistributive policies, and the autonomy of democratically elected governments in a global economy