Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden) Working Paper Series, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden)

No 285:
Incompatible European Partners? Cultural Predispositions and Household Financial Behavior

Michael Haliassos (), Thomas Jansson () and Yigitcan Karabulut ()

Abstract: The Eurozone fiscal crisis has created pressure for institutional harmonization, but skeptics argue that cultural predispositions can prevent convergence in behavior. Our paper derives a robust cultural classification of European countries and utilizes unique data on natives and immigrants. Classification based on genetic distance or on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions fails to identify a single ‘southern’ culture but points to a ‘northern’ culture. Our findings support the relevance of cultural predispositions for financial behavior; and convergence of behavior over time in the face of common institutions, even for countries with great cultural distance from the country that created those institutions.

Keywords: Household Portfolios; Household Finance; Cultural Influences on Economic Behavior; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: E21; G11; (follow links to similar papers)

48 pages, June 1, 2014, Revised January 1, 2015

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