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University of Michigan School of Information


SBEE Seminar Series: Paola Giuliano

03/09/2020, 11:45 am - 12:45 pm
Ross B0560

Understanding Cultural Persistence and Change


We examine a determinant of cultural persistence that has emerged from a class of models in evolutionary anthropology: the similarity of the environment across generations. Within these models, when the environment is more similar across generations, the traits that have evolved up to the previous generation are more likely to be optimal for the current generation. In equilibrium, a greater value is placed on tradition and there is greater cultural persistence. We test this hypothesis by measuring the variability of different climatic measures across 20-year generations from 500-1900. Employing a variety of tests, each using different samples and empirical strategies, we find that populations with ancestors who lived in environments with more cross-generational instability place less importance in maintaining tradition today and exhibit less cultural persistence.

Speaker Bio:


Paola Giuliano

Paola Giuliano is a Professor of Economics at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and holds the Justice Elwood Lui Endowed Term Chair in Management. She serves as a co-editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association. She is also research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge), research affiliate at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London) and research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn).

Giuliano's main areas of research are culture and economics and political economy. She holds a B.A. from Bocconi University (Milan) and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. She received the Young Economic Award from the European Economic Association in 2004. She teaches the Global Macroeconomics and Managerial Economics MBA courses at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Her research has been covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Forbes, Foreign Affairs, Businessweek, Time, The Economist, The Guardian, Financial Times, the Boston Globe, CNBC, KPCC and PBS.


The Social, Behavioral and Experimental Economics seminars are sponsored by the School of Information, the Ross School of Business and the economics department, LS&A.