Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 93-125

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The power of the family

  • Alberto AlesinaAffiliated withHarvard UniversityIGIER, Bocconi University
  • , Paola GiulianoAffiliated withUCLA Anderson School of Management Email author 


We study the importance of family ties on economic behavior. We define our measure of family ties using individual responses from the World Value Survey (WVS) regarding the role of the family and the love and respect that children are expected to have for their parents in 81 countries. We show that with strong family ties home production is higher and families larger, labor force participation of women and youngsters, and geographical mobility lower. To assess causality, we look at the behavior of second generation immigrants. Our results overall indicate a significant influence of the strength of family ties on economic outcomes.


Family ties Culture Immigrants

JEL Classification

Z10 Z13