Rachael Kei Kawasaki, Yuichi Ikeda, 11 February 2022

Attitudes towards immigrants have become a crucial topic in policy and politics. This column uses tools from network science to identify and compare determinants of attitudes toward immigrants from a global perspective. It finds that prejudice is a common determinant of negative attitudes across all regions, especially towards people of another race. Furthermore, individuals in European countries display a more values-based approach towards determining attitudes, compared to non-European contexts. These results imply that successful communication by policymakers on the topic of immigration should account for region-specific cultural and socio-political factors. 

Raquel Fernández, Sahar Parsa, 26 November 2021

Two new papers pinpoint the election of 1992 as a turning point in the attitudes of Americans to same-sex relationships, and ask, what has caused this change? Raquel Fernandez and Sahar Parsa of NYU tell Tim Phillips about the complex relationship between political and social attitudes.

Download the free Discussion Paper:

Fernández, R and Parsa, S. 2021. 'Gay Politics Goes Mainstream: Democrats, Republicans, and Same-Sex Relationships'. CEPR

John Helliwell, Shun Wang, Jinwen Xu, 12 March 2014

Social norms have been shown to have important effects on economic outcomes. This column discusses new evidence showing that social norms are deeply rooted in long-standing cultures, but do evolve in reaction to major changes. It draws on a fully global sample involving migrants in more than 130 countries, using seven waves of the Gallup World Poll.

Jean Tirole, Roland Bénabou, 21 November 2011

Why do many oppose the selling of human organs if, as economists argue, this would increase supply? Economists see material incentives as key to changing behaviour – and are puzzled if incentives don’t work as expected. For psychologists, social norms explain such behaviour; legal scholars say law can shape society’s norms. CEPR DP8663 tries to reconcile these disparate insights with a unifying theory that could explain puzzles such the aversion to organ-selling as well as why so many people resist economists’ advice.

Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, 02 October 2007

What are the fundamental causes of differences in income per capita across countries? Although there is still little consensus on the answers to this question, it is often argued that social attitudes such as trust are one of the main determinants of economic development.

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