Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 93–125 | Cite as

The power of the family

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Paola Giuliano
Open Access


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 



We thank Kenneth Chay, Steve Davis, Rafael di Tella, Oded Galor, Ed Glaeser, David Levine, Assar Lindbeck, Marc Rosenzweig, Andrei Shleifer and seminar participants at Boston College, Boston Fed, Boston University, Brown University, Ente Einaudi (Rome), the Haas School of Business, Harvard Business School, the IIES (Stockholm), INSEAD (Paris), Stanford GSB, the University of British Columbia, UCLA-Anderson School of Management, UC San Diego, the NBER Macroeconomics and Individual Decision Making conference and the IZA-SOLETransatlantic Meeting of Labor Economists for useful comments.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.IGIER, Bocconi UniversityMilanItaly
  3. 3.UCLA Anderson School of ManagementLos AngelesUSA

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