People have long suspected that climate shapes attitudes and behavior. In The Spirit of the Laws (1748), French philosopher Baron de Montesquieu claimed that cold air increases blood flow to the heart. He expected this increased circulation to “produce various effects; for instance, a greater boldness, that is, more courage; a greater sense of superiority, … Continue reading Does Climate Influence Culture? A Historical Perspective
A number of my recent posts have discussed different ways that culture and institutions interact with each other. It’s something I am interested in, and it is one of those areas where I believe historical political economy can really tell us something about the present. Anywhere you look, culture seems to impinge upon formal political … Continue reading Cultural Revivals
Culture, Institutions, and Economic Divergence
I have already posted a few times on here about the interaction between culture and institutions in history. So forgive me for indulging again. Most of my career I have focused on this interaction. At the broadest level, I have long been interested in why some societies have been relatively successful economically and others have not. … Continue reading Culture, Institutions, and Economic Divergence
What Explains Cultural Transmission across Generations?
Research in historical political economy has demonstrated that cultural norms and values often outlive the events, institutions, and policies that generated them. The very definition of culture emphasizes persistence and intergenerational transmission (see this related post by Jared Rubin). Socialization by parents, peers, and opinion leaders is one of the key mechanisms invoked in studies … Continue reading What Explains Cultural Transmission across Generations?
Culture in Historical Political Economy
I decided to use my first post to talk about culture. Culture is one of those things that social scientists have long known affects all types of actions, interactions, and outcomes. Yet, until very recently we shied away from analyzing culture. There is good reason for this. In the first half of the 20th century, … Continue reading Culture in Historical Political Economy