ارتباط بین سرمایه انسانی و اخلاق و تاثیر آن بر عملکرد اقتصادی : نظریه و شواهد
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4938||2012||19 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Comparative Economics, Volume 40, Issue 3, August 2012, Pages 457–475
In this paper we analyze the relationship between the correlation between morality and human capital (“ability”) on the one hand and aggregate economic performance on the other. Morality is defined as an aversion to consuming goods obtained through appropriative rather than productive activities. In our empirical analysis we adapt the well-known regression framework of Rodrik et al. (2004), using the World Values Survey as a source of proxies for morality. Using our preferred proxy, we find evidence that higher within-country correlation between morality and ability, holding constant the levels of morality and ability, increases per-capita income levels. Under our preferred specification, a one-standard-deviation increase in the correlation between morality and ability raises the log of per-capita income by about one-fourth of a standard deviation, equal to approximately $3600 for the median income country in our sample. Results are robust to correcting for endogeneity and to changes in sample and specification. Results are mixed when we use alternative morality proxies, but the coefficient on the morality–ability correlation is still usually positive and statistically significant. We also develop a simple static general equilibrium model to serve as a possible framework for understanding the empirical results.
Some economic activities are productive, while others are appropriative. The performance of an economy is affected by the choices that economic agents make about whether to be producers or appropriators. In this paper we consider that these choices may be influenced by the agents’ “morality” (which we define as an aversion to consuming goods acquired through appropriation rather than production),2 and that the effect of differences in morality may depend on the agents’ human capital (hereafter referred to as “ability”). Specifically, we examine the effect on country-level economic performance of differences in the within-country correlation between morality and ability, holding their aggregate levels constant. Put another way, this paper is about whether and how a country’s economic performance is affected when the moral people in the economy are more likely to also be the talented people. There is a vast empirical literature on the determinants of country-level economic performance. We use the well-known regression framework of Rodrik et al. (2004) as our baseline. This framework was originally constructed to measure the relative importance of three “deep determinants” of per-capita income levels; namely institutions, geography, and trade. To this framework we add measures of morality, ability, and the correlation between them, using the World Values Survey as our source of proxies for morality. This allows us to examine the effects of these variables, controlling for the deep determinants that have previously been identified as of primary importance. We find that higher within-country correlation between morality and ability, holding constant the levels of morality and ability, increases per capita income levels. This effect is both robust and of a substantial magnitude: using our preferred proxy and specification, a one-standard-deviation increase in the correlation raises the log of per-capita income by about one-fourth of a standard deviation, equal to approximately $3600 for the median-income country in our sample. Controlling for the correlation between them, the level of morality and level of ability are also associated with higher per capita incomes. These findings are robust to correcting for endogeneity and to changes in sample and specification. Results are mixed when we use alternative morality proxies, but the coefficient on the morality–ability correlation is still usually positive and statistically significant. We also develop a simple model that may serve as a framework for understanding the empirical results. To see the main idea of the model, imagine two countries, both with the same total morality and ability. Country A is dominated by a corrupt aristocracy, whose members tend to have high ability (they were sent to the best schools), but low morality (they were raised either not to notice the harmful effects of appropriative activities or not to care). Country B, in contrast, is dominated by a benevolent aristocracy, whose members also have high ability, but who are educated to have a sense of “noblesse oblige.” That is, in Country A there is a low or negative correlation between morality and ability, whereas in Country B there is a positive one. Now consider what would happen if Country A became more like Country B. Some high-ability agents would be changed from low to high morality, and an equal number of low-ability agents would be changed from high to low morality. Any high-ability agent who was already a producer will remain a producer, so the increase in morality will have no effect. But those high-ability agents that started out as appropriators will get less utility from appropriation than before, which will cause some of them to switch and become producers. The effect on the low-ability agents will be the opposite, those that were already appropriators will remain appropriators, and some producers will switch and become appropriators. So increasing the correlation between morality and ability causes some high-ability agents to switch into being producers, and causes some low-ability agents to switch out of being producers. This substitution of high-ability producers for low-ability ones tends to cause the total amount of ability employed in productive activity to increase, which improves economic performance. This is intuitive, and can be thought of as the “main” effect in our model. This effect is larger in magnitude the greater is the difference in ability between high and low ability agents. But the fact that the number of agents changed from high to low morality is equal to the number changed from low to high morality does not necessarily mean that the number of switchers from appropriation to production will be equal to the number of switchers from production to appropriation, or that the switchers in each direction will be identical in other relevant respects. These differences can generate secondary effects that can reinforce or oppose, and can even on net overbalance, the main effect. The above thought experiment involves increasing the correlation between morality and ability within a country. But the same reasoning can be applied to cross-country comparisons. All else equal, the effect of increasing the correlation between morality and ability within a country is the same as the difference between the performances of countries with correspondingly different correlations. The cross-country interpretation of the model predicts either an empirical finding that higher within-country correlation between morality and ability (controlling for the levels of both) has a positive effect on economic performance in a cross-country regression (which is what we find empirically), or a finding that over the relevant range the sector choices of high-ability agents are much less sensitive to morality than those of low-ability agents (i.e., that the secondary effect works against the main effect and is of sufficient magnitude to overbalance it).3 The main contribution of the formal model is to show that even if the estimated relationship between the morality–ability correlation and economic performance were zero or negative, it would not necessarily mean that the basic idea behind this paper (economic performance is influenced by agents’ choices between productive and appropriative economic activity, which in turn are influenced by morality and ability and the relationship between them) is incorrect. Before reaching that conclusion, it would remain to investigate whether at the margin the choices of high-ability agents are substantially less responsive to morality than are those of low ability agents. But given the positive empirical finding this possibility, and hence the formal model itself, are of secondary importance. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. Section 2 contains our empirical results, including analysis of causality (that the morality–ability correlation causes high incomes and not the other way around), and of the robustness of the results to using alternative proxies for morality. Section 3 discusses the prior literature on morality (as we define it in this paper) and on the importance of how talent is allocated between productive and appropriative economic activities. This discussion serves as background for our theoretical model. Section 4 lays out the model and derives our theoretical results. Section 5 contains discussion and conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper investigates the relationship between the correlation between morality and human capital one the one hand (where morality is defined as disutility of consuming appropriated goods), and economic performance on the other. Our empirical analysis finds that the within-country correlation between morality and ability has a very large effect on per-capita incomes. Under our preferred specification, a one-standard-deviation increase in the correlation between morality and ability raises the log of per capita income by about one-fourth of a standard deviation, approximately equal to $3600 for the median-income country in our sample. Put differently, an increase of .1 in the correlation between morality and ability is associated with a 36% increase in per capita income. Correcting for endogeneity the effect is even larger. Using alternative proxies for morality produces mixed results, but the coefficient on the morality–ability correlation is usually positive and statistically significant. We also find evidence that the level of morality and the level of ability are associated with higher per capita incomes. That the estimated effect is so large may seem surprising, but in our view it is not. Baumol (1990) and Murphy et al. (1991), have showed that the allocation of talent to productive versus appropriative ends is a first-order determinant of economic performance. This idea is reflected in our theoretical model, and suggests that anything that significantly influences the decisions of agents to be producers rather than appropriators is likely to be important. And though there is little direct evidence on the subject (Frank, 1996, is the only relevant paper of which we are aware) it seems quite plausible that morality is sometimes an important determinant of the decision to engage in productive vs. appropriate activities. And since the decisions of high-ability people are of particular importance, the correlation between morality and ability seems likely to be important as well. Not all appropriative activities are equally harmful. Some may involve a pure transfer, while others may be much more damaging, for example if they involve violent crime. The harmfulness of available appropriative activities may vary across countries, which we cannot control for directly in our empirical analysis. This could confound our results if the countries with high correlations between morality and ability are also characterized by relatively mild forms of appropriation. However, while our data do not allow us to control for this directly, we do control for measures of institutional quality, which may to some extent capture this. Finding a good proxy for morality as we define it is difficult, and there is room for doubt as to whether our preferred measure of morality (or any of our alternative measures) captures it well. But whether or not our empirical results can be interpreted in exactly the manner we have suggested, we believe that they are picking up something important. Our “morality” variables have significant explanatory power even when they are included in regressions alongside the standard variables emphasized by other researchers. We regard this as evidence that values, and particularly the values held by the high-ability people in a society, somehow strongly influence economic choices, and that these choices powerfully influence economic performance. Better understanding the precise nature of that influence promises to be a fruitful subject for future research.