There has been increasing interest over the last decade in understanding the role of culture in shaping development outcomes. The push has come from many directions: from studying economic history, from the institutions and growth literature, from political economy, and more recently from a literature that has explicitly tried to measure dimensions of culture and their evolution and their impact on economic interactions and on the process of development. Culture, defined loosely as shared ideas, customs, and social behavior, is from the perspective of economics a deeply endogenous variable, in other words, something that is determined through a history of economic, social, and political interaction. At the same time, once a culture forms, it acquires its own valence, shaping the way individuals interact, transact, and aggregate into a process of growth.
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