Tuesday, 21st January 2020
Seminar A, 15.00 h
"Network-based Connectedness and the Diffusion of Cultural Traits"
This paper empirically investigates the impact of network-based connectedness on the diffusion of cultural traits. Using Gallup World Poll data on 148 countries on individual connectedness, opinions and beliefs, we find that natives who have a connection abroad are associated with higher levels of social behavior, religiosity and gender-egalitarian attitudes. Due to the endogenous nature of the variables, we strongly mitigate the threat of selection into connectedness by showing robust estimates even after controlling for broad measure of connectedness and performing propensity score and covariate matching techniques. Statistical tests are carefully implemented to quantify the selection threat of unobserved factors, which appears negligible. Our evidence shows that connectedness leads to cultural convergence across regions, while increases cultural heterogeneity within regions. Exploring the mechanisms by which these effects occur, we provide evidence that the effects are precisely estimated among less educated natives and that connectedness affects economic outcomes through remittances. We estimate differential cultural effects based on the connection’s country of residence, suggesting a destination-specific transfer of norms. Overall, the effects on social behavior are sizeable at the global level, once simulations based on estimated coefficients are performed. Although robust and certainly not negligible, gender-egalitarian and pro-religiosity effects of connectedness are limited.
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