Why Nations Fail, Authors: Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson.
By Louis Putterman – Acemoglu and Robinson dismiss the idea that culture has anything to do with national economic success. If Germans are more industrious than, say, Mexicans, they argue, this isn’t a cause of differences in their countries’ respective economic performance but instead a consequence of another variable, the quality of their political and economic institutions.
But separating the quality of institutions from culture, and especially from the norms which underlie aspects of social interaction such as trust and reciprocity, is a daunting challenge. It may in fact be that norms influence the effectiveness of institutions as much as the reverse.
Country rankings in surveys of trust, government quality, prevalence of corruption, and actual incidence of theft in society, are all similar, as are their rankings for per capita income. So this experiment too supports the idea that the internalizing of pro-social behavioral norms by a society’s members, reinforced by confidence that most others will also behave according to such norms, may indeed be an important factor underpinning the wealth or poverty of nations. more> http://goo.gl/rECEwv